My Specialty

Labor & Delivery, Gayane Cherechyan, Adventist Health Glendale

Care and advocacy for new moms and babies

Nurse Gayane Cherechyan in blue scrubs standing in a hospital delivery suite.

Gayane Cherechyan, RN, BSN
Lead Charge Nurse/ Relief Shift Supervisor Labor & Delivery
Adventist Health Glendale

Please tell us the story of your nursing career journey.

When I was nine years old, my mom was in the hospital for five months. She wanted one of her kids to be in the medical field so there would always be someone she could trust. I promised myself that I was going to fulfill her wish.

I became a nurse in 1988 and worked in a children’s hospital in my native Armenia. However, when I immigrated to the U.S. in 1992, I had to start all over. I became a medical assistant and surgical tech for several years, with the goal of becoming a licensed nurse again and working with moms and babies. I became an RN again in 2005 and was hired by Adventist Health Glendale into L&D, exactly where I wanted to be. They made me a charge nurse in 2009. I love working here and have always worked on the night shift.

What do you love most about labor & delivery?

In L&D, the atmosphere is happy 99 percent of the time! Even when moms are in pain, you can usually make them comfortable and help them get through it. I love babies and moms, and I enjoy the entire patient-care process.  As a leader, I love mentoring new grads and making sure they get the right experience.

Do you have a patient story that you can share?

One day, the ER sent up a pregnant mom in labor. Her clothes were soaked from her water breaking on the way upstairs, and she was too weak to lift herself from the wheelchair. As I called for more help and for someone to start an IV, I noticed that the baby’s feet were already out.

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The closest physician was 10 minutes away, which left me to try to deliver this breech baby as a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). I thought of our former OB/GYN, who died some years ago, and I did everything I knew he would have done.

Our OB/GYN rushed in and said, “Gayane, you’re doing all the right things, so I’m going to glove up and help you.” A few seconds later, the baby was safely delivered and passed off to the NICU team. We were all praying and waiting for the baby to cry, which she did. I left the room, collapsed in a chair in the hallway, and started to cry as well.

When you witness a stillbirth or other tragic circumstance, how do you approach the parents and also take care of yourself?

This is the hardest time a parent will ever go through, so we try to be understanding and empathic. We also have to consider parents’ cultural backgrounds — we have a very diverse patient population. I ask parents if they have a plan, if they want to see the baby, if they want pictures, or if we can put together a memory box for them. I’ve often had tears in my eyes while counseling parents after the death of a child. These things are incredibly difficult and tragic for everyone involved. We always have a debriefing afterwards to talk about what happened and cry together.

Nursing Education

How does your unit encourage mother-baby bonding?

We focus on the “golden hour” right after the baby comes. When a baby is born, the most important thing is for the mom to hold her baby, so we do our initial assessment with the baby safely on mom’s chest.

What are the characteristics of an excellent L&D nurse?

When we interview applicants, we offer case scenarios, such as how they would handle a patient who comes in with a very specific birth plan. Will the applicant listen to the patient and help them have the experience they want? How will they solve problems and keep patients happy?

The most important thing for a successful L&D nurse is to listen to patients with respect and compassion so they will trust you. I’ve received many thank-you cards from parents over the years, and they say they appreciate that I’m a good listener, respect their decisions, and am willing to be their advocate on issues like wanting a vaginal birth when the doctor says they should consider a C-section.

We also look for nurses who have the patience and skill to help moms to breastfeed and bond with their babies.

Do you recommend that nurses first gain med-surg experience before going into L&D?

We actually have a six-month new grad resid-ency program. We always support new nurses in learning all about L&D.

Are there always new things to learn?

We have unit-based council meetings where we discuss the latest research so we can give feedback to the hospital.

Do you have any career goals or plans you’d like to share?

Adventist Health Glendale is truly my second home. I basically grew up here: volunteer, CNA, surgical tech, RN, BSN, lead and relief shift supervisor.  I might eventually get my master’s degree and become a certified nurse midwife. Nursing is a lifelong process, and every day there’s something new to learn.

KEITH CARLSON, RN, BSN, NC-BC, has worked as a nurse since 1996 and offers expert professional coaching at

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