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Helping new moms master breastfeeding their babies gives purpose to Jessica Skinner, a former Nursing student and A&P (Anatomy & Physiology) tutor here at MATC. A registered nurse, she is the only International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® in Door County, Wisconsin.
We asked her how she got to be where she is today.
Nursing was a second career choice for me — actually, the beginning of my career!
I had a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field already when I realized that I wanted to be a nurse. I couldn't afford to take the four-year college path again, so I looked close to home and chose MATC. The most important things to me were: a high-quality program, affordability, and flexibility.
I had a few additional classes to take before I could petition for the Nursing program. It was during that time that I realized I could be a tutor; the experience had a long-term positive effect on my studies.
I graduated from the Nursing program and passed the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) on the first try, like the vast majority of MATC Nursing graduates do.
Because of the amazing clinical experiences provided by MATC, I discovered where I wanted to work as a nurse while I was in still in school. I worked on my dream unit during the program, had an offer to work there as an RN (registered nurse) after graduation, and thought I would stay there forever.
Life, as usual, changed my plans. My grandfather was dying of lung cancer and placed in hospice, and I found out I was pregnant. I decided to leave Milwaukee to be closer to my family, so I applied for jobs in Northeast Wisconsin.
I started work in LDRP (Labor, Delivery, Recovery, Postpartum) at Aurora Baycare (in Green Bay) and learned how to be an L&D (Labor and Delivery) nurse from some amazing people there. I had my son closer to home, at Door County Medical Center, and fell in love!
A year after my son was born I accepted a position in the Birthing Center there. I was especially excited to work there because they were without a lactation consultant. I had become a certified lactation counselor while in school at MATC, with plans to work toward becoming an IBCLC.
The IBCLC is the gold standard of professional lactation support. It stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant®. It took years of practice and study to achieve, and it's one of the things I'm most proud of in my career.
Now, I work as a nurse and lactation consultant in the Birthing Center helping deliver babies and teaching their mothers how to care for them, including helping those mothers feed their babies.
I'm the only IBCLC in Door County, so I meet most of the breastfeeding families. I feel so blessed to watch these children grow up and know that I was one of the first people to meet them.
Sometimes breastfeeding doesn't always go smoothly, which is why I'm here! My deepest satisfaction is when mothers come to an appointment with me with tears of sorrow and leave with tears of joy.
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