Patient-centered care starts with listening at CHRISTUS Maternity & Women’s Health Center
Published 12:38 am Saturday, April 16, 2022
Kiersten Scott went to a local medical center in 2020 because she felt her hormones were running out of whack.
A couple of tests later, and Scott was told she was pregnant.
“For me, it was like being pregnant for the first time, again, because it was so long,” Scott said. “My children are 14 years apart. At the time I had no idea I would be pregnant again.”
Due to Scott’s age in her late 30s, one of the health center’s nurses recommended she go see Rhonda Dixon, a certified nurse midwife at CHRISTUS Maternity and Women’s Health Center.
Scott, of Port Arthur, said it was a great decision, describing her time working with Dixon “like going to see a friend.”
“She was really sweet, hands-on and I enjoyed every moment of it,” Scott said. “You felt like they actually cared about you. She really took her time. She explained a lot of things that were happening with my body and what they were looking for. She gave me things I needed to do, things that would help and made adjustments. She would not let me forget anything.
“They had to refer me to specialists they are connected to, and it was the same thing. Everybody they were connected to was amazing.”
Scott’s son, Kyler, was born happy and healthy Jan. 7, 2021.
She said he is “doing amazing,” just starting to walk and getting ready to go to daycare.
CHRISTUS Maternity and Women’s Health
Dixon, who is also an advanced practice registered nurse, said her experiences with Scott are indicative of the care she feels like the women of Greater Port Arthur deserve.
No. 1, according to Dixon, midwives don’t just deliver babies at home. They work in hospitals, neighborhood clinics, birth centers, etc.
No. 2, she said it’s proven that midwives decrease many health complications in patients, especially pregnant patients.
No. 3, “We don’t just deliver babies, we perform Pap smears, we perform breast exams, we treat infections, we order blood work and other tests, we do ultrasounds and help doctors with caesarean sections,” Dixon stressed.
The work is important to Dixon, who was born and raised in this community.
“I have lots of things in common with my patients,” she said. “I can relate to some of their experiences.”
According to Dixon, word about the Women’s Health Center is growing. She noted patients, even those who don’t speak English, drive from Houston, Baytown, Orange, Bridge City, Beaumont and Winnie for the care and attention.
The center uses a language line service via iPad for patients who don’t speak English.
“It’s just all about making the patient the center of attention at that moment,” Dixon said. “Each patient gets genuine, quality care, plus a little more.”
Time with patients
Patients are not treated as just another number. They are treated as a human being who needs to be listened to.
Dixon feels that sentiment is lacking in much of health care. Creating a connection is key.
“It helps the patient open up to me, and I am able to help her with other issues that maybe she thought we didn’t have time to talk about,” Dixon said. “Maybe she is too embarrassed to say what is going on. Lots of times, especially in women’s health since we are dealing with parts of the body that most people don’t want to talk about, things can be ignored.”
Dixon believes everyone deserves good treatment, adding there needs to be equity in health.
“I know that a lot of the people that I am serving are some of the main people who are having more challenges because they are not being listened to,” she said. “People aren’t taking the time to find out what is really going on with them.
“Our whole team treats our patients the same way. We all care about our patients. I think the team mix is important and helps from the first time a patient calls and makes her appoint to when she leaves. Everyone who she has talked to is providing her that same type of care and attention.”
Outside of listening, Dixon said her team can provide resources for people if they are having problems with depression or any type of anxiety.
“If they are low on food, clothing, shelter, we can provide resources for that,” Dixon said. “We are not just focused on the medical or the physical, but the whole person.”
CHRISTUS Maternity and Women’s Health Center is located at 8801 9th Avenue, suite 501 in Port Arthur. Those interested in learning more can call 409-989-5858.
It’s a location that still means a lot to Scott nearly 16 months after her child was born.
“They are an amazing place,” she said. “I tried to send all my friends or anybody that I know that might be pregnant over there because they just took such good care of me and were really nice.”