Meet Betsy Batejan, Nurse-Midwife
Betsy Batejan RN, CNM, MSN, is a nurse-midwife who sees patients at Women’s Associates for Healthcare in East Norriton and at the Genuardi Family Foundation Maternal Health Center in Norristown.
We recently spoke to Ms. Batejan about her career, her interests and her role in obstetrics and gynecology at Einstein.
Q: When did you decide to become a nurse-midwife?
A: I started my midwifery program in 1996, so I guess I decided in 1995.
Q: Why did you choose to be a midwife?
A: I became interested in midwifery after working as a nurse in labor and delivery for five years and reading about midwifery. It seemed like a good way to combine my love of clinical practice and being able to have more autonomy in the way women were cared for.
Q: Did you know or had you ever met a midwife?
A: No, I didn’t know a single midwife.
Q: For people who don’t know, how do you explain the role of a midwife?
A: I tell people I am a registered nurse with a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery and that I take care of women who are essentially having low-risk pregnancies or, if they have risk factors, I work in conjunction with a doctor. Nurse-midwives provide prenatal care and gynecological care. We work with family planning and birth control. We do Pap smears and breast exams, and work with women on normal vaginal deliveries. Basically, we don’t do C-sections.
In general, nurse-midwives try to minimize interventions or keep the birth process as intervention-free as possible. We let labor take its course, and only step in and add things if necessary. We can use epidurals. We’re not opposed to them, as some people might think. And we use other interventions when needed. For example, with most women, we can monitor the baby and contractions with a wrap that goes around the mom’s belly. It’s an external tool. Sometimes we need to use internal instruments for monitoring.
Q: What was your training like?
A: A little bit of a mish-mash. Originally, I went for a master’s in prenatal nursing, which was a three-year, part-time program. When I decided to switch to nurse-midwifery, I discovered you can’t get two master’s degrees in the same field. So I earned a post-master’s certificate in nurse-midwifery through the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Then I did my clinical training with a midwife with a private practice in Bridgeton, NJ.
Q: Do people seek you out as a nurse-midwife or do they learn about you after they come to the office?
A: It seems like most people find out about us once they’ve come into our office. We work as a team: midwives, nurse practitioners and doctors. We explain to people that we work together as a team, and that it’s good to know everyone on the team because at the time of delivery you never know who will be available.
When a woman books an appointment, she could be seen by any of the providers in our office. Some women want to see a specific person on later visits. In the past, many people thought midwives were only for home births, but there are many women who want to use a midwife for a hospital birth.
Q: What drew you to Einstein?
A: When Hahnemann University Hospital closed, my department was laid off, so I had to look for new job. And I live in this area, close to the Einstein Montgomery Medical Center, so I knew they had an exceptional program with a state-of-the-art maternal unit. It seemed like a good opportunity.
Q: Do you have certain clinical interests?
A: I like working with women in underserved communities because they often aren’t able to access the care they need due to lack of resources. It feels like you are accomplishing something that otherwise might not happen if people weren’t there to provide that care.
Q: What are your interests outside of work?
A: My most important interest is animals and animal rescue. I have two adopted dogs, a foxhound (Walker) and a mixed breed (Lulu). When I’m able, I help with animal transports. Animals get moved from one location to another within the country using a chain of volunteer drivers. For example, a dog might be moving from a high-kill shelter in the South to a no-kill shelter in the North with a better chance of adoption. Or a dog may be adopted and moving from a shelter to an adoptive home. It’s very rewarding work and I’ve fallen in love with many animals in the past two years of doing this.
Q: Do you have a favorite book?
A: For classic novels, I’d say The Great Gatsby, and for more current fiction The Friend by Sigrid Nunez. It regards the loss of a close friend and a dog. And I have a real passion for animals.
Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: Anything by Wes Anderson.
Q: Who is the person you would most like to meet?
A: The Dali Lama. I’m sure that’s a very common answer, but I really would love to meet him – just to be in his presence.
Q: Do you have a vacation spot you love?
A: Cape May, NJ. It’s just beautiful. I used to go there as a kid and still go as an adult.
Q; What is something that people might not know about you?
A: I was a professional ballerina at age 10 and performed with The Philadelphia Civic Ballet.
Learn more about Einstein Obstetrics and Gynecology.