A series of lessons guided Marsha Hill’s career path. High school biology and human anatomy classes piqued her interest in health care. In college, she considered attending medical school to become a doctor, but after being exposed to the nursing program, she decided that focusing on patient and bedside care as a nurse was a better fit. Hill’s pregnancy during the last six months of nursing school shaped her specialty and passion.

Marsha Hill - RN, BSN, MSM, CNM, Mercy Birthing Hospital

Photo by Tybee Studios. 

“I received such excellent care from the midwives and nurses during my pregnancy and delivery,” said Marsha Hill, certified nurse midwife at Mercy Birthing Center. “Because of that, I felt that I wanted to offer the same to other people. That’s how I landed in maternal, child health and labor and delivery.”

Today, Hill is exposed to a unique spectrum of mothers and infants in her role as a midwife at Mercy. She has delivered nearly 1,000 infants since she began her career 15 years ago. Each patient is different and every day offers a unique experience – her favorite part of the job. “Getting to know so many different people on a personal level is my favorite part of midwifery. I get to support my patients emotionally, forming a bond with them. While learning about each of them, I learn a little more about myself,” she said.

Pregnancy, labor and delivery can be a frightening time for many women, and Hill’s role is to guide the birth experience from beginning to end. From prenatal care to labor, newborn care and even postpartum check-ups, she medically assists each patient. But the most important part of her job is emotional assistance.

“The emotional support aspect of my job is huge,” she said. “Relieving anxiety while taking care of patients and their families starts with me. I realize that if I am panicking, they are going to sense that. If I’m calm, they know that everything will be okay. That is what I appreciated about having a midwife when I was going through the experience myself.”

When asked about a situation in midwifery that stands out, Hill explains that while every birth is amazing, the ones that don’t go as planned tend to stay with her. In these instances she is able to build an even deeper bond with her patients. “Those patients really stick out in my mind. After going through very difficult things during pregnancy and labor, they show this tremendous strength. These moments are really impactful to me as a nurse.”

As long as she remains impacted by patients, Hill knows she is where she needs to be. When her patients cry – happy or sad – she cries with them.

The lessons that guided Hill’s career are transferable, and her advice to anyone thinking about going into the nursing field is to listen and follow the people with experience. “You can learn a tremendous amount from them, especially how to apply everything you learned in school in a real life patient care setting,” she said. “You can’t learn that in a book.”

This content was produced by Brand Ave. Studios. The news and editorial departments of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had no role in its creation or display. For more information about Brand Ave. Studios, contact tgriffin@stltoday.com.