Teaching Midwives Sensitivity and Patience: Laura Zeidenstein
By OBOS — April 19, 2010
From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011
Entrant: Jennifer Shark
Nominee: Laura Zeidenstein, Midwife and Director of Columbia University School of Nursing’s Midwifery program
Laura has been the director of Columbia University School of Nursing’s Midwifery program for 10 years now. She was my mentor during my tenure as a student at Columbia, and I still consider her to be such. It is largely thanks to her that I learned to be a sensitive, patient midwife.
Whenever I am taking care of women, whether in the ambulatory setting or in the hospital in labor, I can feel her hands guiding mine. When I precept midwifery students, I hear her voice explaining how or why we do things the way we do, and how that makes us different.
Her love for her students and the women she cares for comes through in everything she does. She is one of the most thoughtful and intelligent people I have had the pleasure to learn from. These things, along with her commitment to the uphill battle that is improving women’s health, makes her my women’s health hero. I’d venture to guess that all of her students, past and present, share the sentiment.
I support this nomination with all of my heart and soul. Laura is who we all aspire to be as nurses, midwives, and educators. She is wise and strong and shares this with all those she meets.
She has made a lasting contribution to me and my career. I remain grateful to her for this and the way she leads her life.
I am a current Columbia midwifery student and I feel so blessed to have Laura as my professor, mentor, and friend.
Laura is a midwife in all aspects of her being. She treats everyone with the greatest gentleness and respect. In every interaction with patients I am trying to emulate her. She is fully engaged in supporting us through our midwifery education, including helping us through personal challenges along the way. Laura’s guidance has created a culture within my class of being good to one another, to the women we serve, to our doctor and nurse colleagues, and to ourselves.
I feel extraordinarily lucky to know Laura, to learn from her, to have her as a friend and model for who I want to be and how I want to practice midwifery. She is a rare gift, not just to women, but to humanity, and definitely my women’s health hero!