Nursing Instructor Sees Work in Obstetrics as Her Ministry Field
By Michael Ferraresi
GCU News Bureau
Laura Maurer brings 20 years of professional nursing experience to the GCU students she instructs through clinical coursework and classroom pregnancy simulations.
But to her, nursing is more than health care. The longtime obstetric, or OB, nurse prays with her students and encourages compassion.
As a mother who struggled with two difficult pregnancies, she coaches students on how to mitigate a new mom’s stress to ensure the most effortless delivery possible.
Maurer, 49, began teaching as a GCU clinical adjunct instructor two years ago and is nearly done with her master’s degree in nursing education. She enjoys helping students build confidence in how they approach patients.
Many students appear apprehensive at first, but the simulation skills labs on campus — which include dummies of pregnant women to demonstrate the shape of a full-term womb and how to monitor a pregnant woman’s biological signs — prepare them to go hands-on with real mothers during clinicals at Valley hospitals.
Maurer instructs clinical students at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea, although she works at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix.
“The students come in scared, then you see the light bulb go off in their heads,” said Maurer, an Arizona native who has three daughters.
“It’s really a privilege to be involved with families through the process of childbirth,” she said.
This week marks National Nurses Week, which celebrates leadership in the largest of the health-care professions. The American Nurses Association said there’s more job growth projected in nursing than in any other occupation between 2008 and 2018.
Marsha Ramstad, a GCU assistant nursing professor, said Maurer naturally connects with students. In the high-demand specialty nursing field of OB, jobs are in high demand – so Maurer encourages them to find the next opportunity in the field.
“She spends time individually with each one,” Ramstad said. “Part of our education is learning how to interpret fetal heart monitoring. I lecture on it in the classroom, but then in the clinical setting she is with students looking at heart monitors, interpreting it for them.”
Maurer’s Good Sam hospital is a Level 3 OB facility, meaning it’s capable of handling high-risk pregnancies. Maurer has worked on fetal deliveries and understands the range of emotion.
Her first daughter arrived 10 weeks early. Her second left her on bed rest for 10 weeks. The life-altering experiences led her to understand her passion in health care.
“I see it as a ministry,” Maurer said. “I like being able to take care of the really high-risk as much as normal pregnancies.”
Contact Michael Ferraresi at 639.7030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.