Before I was a midwife, I spent most of my nursing career working in small community hospitals that did not have residency programs.

I’d heard horror stories about resident physicians from my nurse friends who worked with them. When I started my midwifery clinical rotation at a hospital with residents, I was admittedly apprehensive, particularly as a student.

I could not have been more mistaken. From day one, the residents welcomed me with respect and support. 

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I didn’t feel the competition that I’d expected, instead there was a spirit of camaraderie.

The residents make my life immeasurably easier. They evaluate most patients who present to Labor and Delivery, 24 hours a day seven days a week. This saves me from having to drive twenty minutes each way every time a patient comes in for a labor check or a headache. Without the residents, I’d never leave the hospital while on-call.

Our residents are wonderful sources of knowledge. They are usually very up-to-date on the latest research and practices, and are always willing to share or brainstorm over the management of a complex patient.

The residency program at our hospital is somewhat unique in that along with the physicians, the midwives serve as faculty for the residents and medical students.

We work with them on promoting and facilitating vaginal birth and teach them alternative methods of pain management — things they may not learn during medical school or with physician-only faculty. In addition to clinical teaching, we also provide lectures on topics per their request.

I am still new enough to midwifery that I really enjoy catching my patients’ babies and can be a bit territorial when it comes to births. But I love watching the residents learn midwifery skills that will serve them in their future careers and help them think outside the medical box every now and again.

Maybe we’ve always had a particularly skilled and pleasant group of obstetrical residents, but after more than six years of working together, I cannot imagine the hospital without them.

I trust them to care for my patients, which is the highest compliment I can give. I truly believe they will be better physicians, having worked side-by-side with midwives.

Robyn Carlisle, MSN, CNM, WHNP, works as a full-scope midwife at University Doctors and Kennedy University Hospital in Sewell, N.J.

This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor