Women get some crazy ideas about how to put themselves into labor — eating eggplant or pineapple, drinking castor oil — and Nurse Dani has heard almost all of them. Danielle Kurtz, 31, of Spanish Fork, has worked as a labor and delivery nurse at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center for almost nine years. She’s also the public face of Intermountain Healthcare’s Intermountain Mom’s Facebook page, answering more than 100 visitor questions each week on everything from tummy aches to temper tantrums, from fevers to fertility.
Every week, Nurse Dani participates in a live chat on the Facebook site. She also films video responses to popular questions for the Intermountain Moms YouTube channel. Hot topics on the Facebook page tend to vary by year and season, said Kurtz, but moms constantly worry about their babies’ poop and sleep. (Motherhood is so glamorous.) Fertility and pregnancy are popular topics on the page as well, said Kurtz.
Of the more than 2,000 videos on the Intermountain Moms YouTube channel, Kurtz appears in about three-quarters of them. She’s filmed segments on everything from the pros and cons of an epidural to what to bring to the hospital for a delivery.
An ‘extraordinary nurse’
The pretty, long-haired, green-eyed brunette answers questions like a compassionate girlfriend — one who just happens to be an experienced nurse. On the Intermountain Moms Facebook page, she might be comforting a woman who has just miscarried, or commiserating with a tired mom trying to get her newborn to sleep.
“She is unique among nurses in having a seemingly perfect mix of clinical and interpersonal skills,” said Dr. Scott Jacob. He works for the Provo office of Valley Obstetrics & Gynecology, where Kurtz teaches prenatal classes. “She is a truly extraordinary nurse.”
Kurtz, who loves camping and decorating, Peanut M & Ms and Diet Coke, says that educating women is one of her favorite parts of nursing.
“I really believe that knowledge is power,” said Kurtz, noting that babies don’t come with an instruction manual. “There are no stupid questions. … We are all in this together as women.”
Kurtz has an associate’s degree in nursing from Utah Valley University and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Brigham Young University–Idaho. And for much of her teaching, Kurtz can draw on her own parenting experiences. She and her husband, Rob, have two children: Alaina, 6, and Bronson, 2.
Because she has her hands in “so many pots” — teaching prenatal classes, working in labor & delivery, answering Facebook questions, filming YouTube videos — Kurtz says she struggles to balance it all with family life. Sometimes, for example, she has to answer questions while her daughter is at school and her 2-year-old is napping or watching Mickey Mouse on television.
“I’m still working on how to get that balance down, but I always want my kids to know they come first,” said Kurtz. “I don’t want to help other people with their kids at the expense of my own children.”
Kurtz’s husband, Rob Kurtz, 34, said that Danielle is able to make her family feel like they are her No. 1 priority.
The couple met when they both worked at a Macey’s grocery store — he in the dairy department, she as a cashier. Danielle and Rob were 18 and 21 respectively, and they married less than a year later.
“She had all the qualities I was looking for: She was smart, pretty and funny, and we were interested in the same things,” said Rob.
Both like to camp, hike and ride ATVs. And both work for Intermountain Healthcare. Rob is a strategic sourcing manager for the company. Although Danielle’s busy schedule doesn’t allow for a whole lot of free time these days, she says that’s OK. She is doing what she absolutely loves, whether it’s answering a Facebook question or helping during a delivery.
“The most rewarding thing is being there when someone is having a baby, enjoying the gravity of that moment,” she said. “It’s such a vulnerable time in life. It’s such a privilege to help someone through that and to be there when a baby is born. There’s nothing more special than that.”