Certified Nurse Midwife Janelle Dahl sees patients in the Women's Health Center and delivers babies in the Birth Center.
Your first job? "I waitressed at a small restaurant in Rochester growing up, and then during college and nursing school. It taught me how to talk to people, and how to relate to people who are different from me. And I learned time management – how to prioritize things, which is the basis of a nurse’s job. Waitressing was an introduction to those life skills, on a different scale."
What do you do in her free time? "I like doing anything outside. I love hiking, mountain biking, cross-country and downhill skiing, and snowshoeing. I’m excited about the bike access in Northfield – you can bike everywhere. My kids (who are 10 and 6) like to be outside, too. They’ve learned to love it all."
Best part of your work? "Meeting all different types of people, from different walks of life and in different situations. I learn something from everyone I talk to. I like asking, “What is your day like?” because it invites people to talk about what matters to them, and gives me a sense of the challenges and opportunities they have. When you know what their day is like, you know what kind of information can be helpful to them in their health care choices."
Best advice you've ever gotten? "'Listen to what people are telling you . . . and what they’re not telling you.' You can learn a lot about a person if you take time to listen. And if you simply look: One of the basics in health care is to look at your patient, not just at the machines. Your patient’s going to tell you more about what’s going on than the machines are."
Why healthcare? "I always wanted a career that wasn’t behind a desk. I started out in wildlife biology, and it was a ton of fun, but wasn’t a lifelong career. I wanted something active, and to be able to help people through a life event. The first time I watched a delivery, what I fell in love with was the delivery itself: the power of the woman, and learning how to help people through the physically difficult experience of labor. To get to see women do this is so empowering and beautiful."
If not healthcare, what would you be doing? "Probably wildlife biology. I love being outside."
Learn more about midwife care at NH+C.