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You deserve respect and supportive healthcare throughout your life. From pre-pregnancy, prenatal, childbirth, postpartum, routine well person, and sick care, your visits should always put you at the center of importance with respectful care. Your voice matters throughout all your care experiences. You should be heard, and your concerns should be validated by your healthcare team. Use these 3 strategies to ensure you receive the care you deserve.

Introduce Yourself

Introduce yourself to the healthcare team and let them know by what name you like to be addressed. Ask to meet your care team; knowing who is on your team and the role they play will help you and your family understand who is facilitating each part of the care you receive. Introducing yourself to the team allows them to learn about you. You are not just a name on a piece of paper or a patient in an exam room. You are a person with important beliefs and values from a family and a community of people.

What Matters to You

Let your healthcare team know what matters to you. Clearly and confidently communicate with your healthcare team every step of the way about what matters to you. It doesn’t matter how small or large your request may seem. If it’s important to you, tell your team. Your healthcare providers should make every effort to ensure that the things that matter to you are incorporated into your care plan.

Information Sharing

Information should be openly shared with you and your family throughout your care. If anything is ever unclear or not explained by your healthcare team, be sure to ask questions and seek clarity about the care you’re receiving. Your healthcare team should be more than willing to continuously share information regarding your plan of care. If you’re unsure or have questions about your care, please use your voice and ask questions so that you can understand the benefits versus risks in the care you’re receiving. Information should always be shared with you in a culturally appropriate manner and in your preferred language.

Your Voice Matters

Respectful care is a human right for all persons regardless of ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, beliefs, or values. You have every right to respectful care. Using your voice is one critical way to ensure you receive respectful care from your healthcare team.

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Shawana S. Moore, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, PNAP, FAAN, is a women’s health nurse practitioner. She serves as an Associate Professor and the DNP Program Director at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson School of Nursing. She is passionate about equitable, respectful, and inclusive maternal-child care.

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