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Madeleine Shernock

Full-Spectrum Doula, Educator, Shodhini

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Welcome Home Doula Services Apprentice Doula

Title: Apprentice Doula

Skills (Must-Haves): Patience; Excellent Spoken and Written Communication Skills; Strong Memorization and Critical Thinking Skills; Fast Learner; Sociable and Empathetic; Inquisitive; Available On-Call 24/7 for Up to 6 Wks at a Time; Sense of Humor
Skills (Negotiable): Bilingual or Multilingual; Healthcare Experience; Training in Cultural Intelligence, Healthcare Disparities, LGBT Healthcare; Experience with Herbal Remedies and Alternative Healthcare

Job Description
An Apprentice Doula through Welcome Home Doula Services is a temporary member of Welcome Home Doula Services who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to six families throughout their childbearing year(s) alongside or under the guidance of a Mentor Doula. The term of apprenticeship ends upon successful completion of six client cases and fulfilment of all expectations and responsibilities. The term of apprenticeship can last anywhere from 12 - 18 months, depending on the client load and availability of Mentor Doulas.

Duties Include:

  • Assist WHDS Mentor Doulas with the preparation and completion of all prenatal and postpartum appointments for shared clients. This includes but is not limited to:

    • Attending ALL prenatal and postpartum visits, without exception

    • Preparing for each visit by reviewing materials, topics, and handouts with the Mentor Doula

    • Doing independent research before and after each visit to self-educate on any topics that come up during visits

    • Arriving early or on-time to all visits

  • Provide supervised correspondence with clients via phone, e-mail, and text.

  • Be fully available on-call from weeks 38 to 42 of client’s pregnancy, which includes but is not limited to:

    • Abstaining from ALL alcohol or drug use (including marijuana or sleeping aids) during this time

    • Remaining within a 1 hour radius of client’s home during this time

    • Maintaining a working, reliable automobile and driver's license

    • Maintaining a working, fully-charged, reliable cellular phone

  • Attend three (3) births with a Mentor Doula. Responsibilities at the birth include:

    • Arriving to the client’s preferred place of contact (home, hospital, birth center) within two hours of being called in by the client

    • Providing labor support alongside Mentor Doula throughout the duration of the labor and birth

    • Taking notes about client’s labor and delivery, which Apprentice will later compile into a personalized birth story for the client.

    • Maintaining professional behavior and appearance at the place of delivery, and maintaining a respectful, professional relationship with the delivery staff.

    • Remaining with the client for up to three hours after the delivery of the baby and placenta, to assist with bonding, breastfeeding, and ensuring the family’s comfort after labor.

  • Obtain three (3) evaluations for each birth: one (1) from the family, one (1) from the Mentor Doula, and one (1) self-evaluation. By the end of the first three (3) births attended, Apprentice Doula shall have obtained nine (9) evaluations in total. It is the Apprentice Doula’s responsibility to return all completed evaluations to Welcome Home Doula Services in a timely manner.

  • Before the Apprentice may take on any solo clients, a comprehensive evaluation of the Apprentice Doula’s performance, skills, and knowledge by a team of Mentor Doulas and Directors of WHDS will be required. The Apprentice will receive a written summary of this comprehensive review.

For the remaining three (3) solo births, the Apprentice Doula shall:

  • Provide a minimum of three (3) prenatal visits and two (2) postpartum visits to each client. Each visit can last anywhere from one to three hours in length.

  • Be on-call for weeks 38-42 of client’s pregnancy, with all of the above-stated implications.

  • Maintain contact with a Back-up WHDS Doula during the 4 weeks of being on-call.

  • Attend each birth for the duration of the labor, delivery, and immediate postpartum.

  • Take notes notes about client’s labor and delivery, which Apprentice will later compile into a personalized birth story for the client.

  • Obtain two (2) evaluations from each birth: one (1) from client/family, and one (1) self-evaluation, totaling six (6) evaluations by the end of three (3) solo births. It is the Apprentice Doula’s responsibility to return all completed evaluations to Welcome Home Doula Services in a timely manner.

Throughout the entire term of apprenticeship, the Apprentice Doula shall:

  • Attend all WHDS trainings and community workshops

  • Assist in the preparation and delivery of WHDS workshops, Childbirth Education / Reproductive Health classes, etc.

  • Help coordinate and participate in community outreach efforts

  • Help with miscellaneous WHDS projects

About Our Company
Welcome Home Doula Services is a full-spectrum doula practice offering sliding scale perinatal support services to families in the greater Sacramento area. Our team includes Mentor and Apprentice Doulas, Childbirth Educators, Placenta Encapsulators, and Reproductive/Pelvic Health Educators. In addition to paid clients, we currently staff the volunteer Doula program at UC Davis Medical Center, which serves low-income families, teen parents, and homeless families. We also provide free labor support to military families.
In the next ten years, we hope to have funding for a staff of 30 doulas who serve Yolo, Sacramento, and Solano county families. We additionally aim to expand our support to include more hospital-based doula programs (with both birth and abortion doulas) and secure a location for our offices as well as childbirth and pelvic health classes.
Our business is volunteer-run, and each doula attends up to four births per month. Apprentice Doulas are be expected to attend births at no or very low cost, splitting the fee 50/50 with her Mentor Doula; An interest in working as a doula full-time, or training to work in a related field (midwifery, obstetrics and gynecology, medicine) is recommended, as this training provides an incredible foundation for future learning. 
As doulas, we attend births resulting in a wide range of outcomes; in our over 200 births attended, we have witnessed miracles as well as horrible tragedies. An Apprentice Doula gets firsthand experience attending births, and likely will encounter a need for the support of the group as well as at home. It is for this reason we recommend applicants have an excellent support system in place, as well as an emphasis on self-care. 

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