Date of Publication


Project Team

Dr. Carol Buck-Rolland, Ed.D., APRN; Martha Churchill, MSN, CNM


Background: Continuous labor support is a feature of high quality maternal healthcare, yet access to doulas is not universal. Hospital-based doula programs can minimize barriers to continuous labor support, and evaluation of hospital-based doula programs is needed. This project evaluated a pilot volunteer doula program at an academic medical center.

Methods: Sign-in process monitored volunteer activity. Likert scale surveys measured participant (RN and doula) perspectives. Likert scale surveys with a comment section measured patient experience. Survey results and sign-in sheets were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Patient comments were assessed for themes using NVivo software.

Results: Volunteer doulas (VD) (n=74) supported 92 patients within 6 months (approximately 8.2% of total births during the period). Among RNs and VDs, average perception of support given to the patient was rated 4/5. Forty-two surveys were given to patients who received volunteer doula support, and 23 responses were received (54% response rate). All patient respondents (n=23) rated feeling supported during labor as “most important” (5/5). Ninety one percent of respondents “strongly agree” (5/5) they felt supported by the VD, and that the VD helped them to have a positive experience. Comment analysis revealed three themes: describing the doula, expressing gratitude for the program, and explaining how the doula helped.

Conclusions: The volunteer program increased access to continuous labor support, and patient response suggests positive experiences. Perspectives of nurses and volunteers during the pilot stage explores buy-in and guides improvements. Given these findings, the impact of this program on labor and delivery care was positive.

Document Type



References can be found in the presenter notes of the poster powerpoint file.