BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - "A ball of energy." That's how Tiara Oliver describes her 11-month-old daughter Jordynn.
Oliver describes the Nurse Family Partnership that helped her through this first pregnancy as “one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
UAB’s School of Nursing and the Jefferson County Health Department match first-time moms with nurses, preferably early during pregnancy. The nurses provide support like medical and nutritional information to moms up until the baby’s second birthday.
But Oliver and her nurse, Kaylee Baswell, agree the bond they’ve built over the past year is what makes the program work.
“We can’t really help our moms unless we know the truth and know everything and so building that relationship, a lot of our moms will tell us things that maybe they wouldn’t tell anybody else,” says Baswell.
Oliver, who often works odd shifts, says being able to talk to Baswell whenever has been really helpful.
“Knowing that I had somebody to listen to me and hear me out and not judge me has been the best part - is the best part of it all,” Oliver says.
The nursing school attracted $1.7 million in grants to bring the program to Jefferson County in 2017. The program has been implemented around the state, including in Tuscaloosa and Montgomery.
UAB says moms involved in the Jefferson County program have only a 10% premature birth rate - 2% lower than the county and statewide rates.
Oliver says having a healthy baby allows her to focus more on the joys of motherhood. “Waking up, seeing this face every day. That’s the best part of it all”, Oliver says.
Baswell says women must be first-time moms who are Medicaid-eligible to be involved in the program. Those interested in the program can contact Candace Knight at 205 597-3741