How long have you practiced as a midwife?
A long……..long time! I trained as a nurse in the UK from 1969-72 and then went on to do my midwifery in 1974 – and have been at it ever since.
How many babies have you delivered?
Too many to count! However each delivery is different and each one a lovely experience.
What’s the most rewarding thing about the work you do?
I really love the ‘end to end care’ aspect of this role. I first meet the mother at ante-natal class – when everything is so new and daunting. We talk about labour, caring for their newborn…what to expect. Mums, just like everyone else, are often scared of the unknown. When she comes into hospital to give birth I often go up to see how she’s doing – I hope that having a familiar face around is helpful for them. In the first few weeks after birth one of our team will visit the new family at home to see how they’re getting along. And of course when they come back into the Practice around 6 weeks later, it’s lovely to see them once more to complete that end to end care. It’s truly a privilege to be a part of it.
You’ve done so many different things throughout your career – from clinical care in birthing suites, and ante-natal care in hospitals and the community, to management and teaching. Is there one area that you get greatest satisfaction?
They really can’t be separated. For example, even when we talk about ‘teaching’- a part of my job I absolutely love – it encompasses so many things -from teaching mothers, to student midwives and nurses, doctors and each other. It can be in a community setting, formal classroom, in the Practice…we’re all learning and teaching constantly. And honestly, the individual aspects of the role can’t be pulled apart, they’re all intertwined and I couldn’t say I prefer one over the other.
What do you do outside of work? What do you do for relaxation?
I’m an avid reader – I love historical novels, particularly Ken Follet. But I can also spend hours playing Sudoku – it really is great relaxation.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a mum having a new baby?
It’s all normal…just enjoy. Don’t go looking for problems before they arrive. Babies are simple souls, they just need to eat, sleep, and be loved.
How have practices changed over the 30 years of your career? Are things really that different?
While fundamentally the practice of having a baby hasn’t changed particularly over the years; trends come and go…for example fathers were not allowed in the delivery suite until only relatively recently. What is very different is our response to people in need. As a profession we are in a position to be alert and responsive to people facing difficulty. Domestic violence management for example has changed enormously over the years – and all for the better. Some years ago we may have had concerns about how a partner was treating a mother, but we weren’t supported professionally to do anything about it. Today things have changed considerably. We as healthcare providers have a responsibility to identify and respond to people in need. There’s a system that supports us to do that – and for that I’m very grateful.
Delivering pre-natal or post-natal care – which gives you greatest satisfaction?
It’s impossible to separate the two periods – it’s all one big conversation stretching the continuum. And again, that’s what I love about it. You get to stay connected to a mother throughout the most special period of her life. Helping her understand what’s going on right from the beginning, through to labour and delivery and then meeting her and the new baby again when I visit them at home around week 2 and week 4…and finally, getting to see how they’re all managing when they return to the Practice for their six week check. It’s such a privilege to be involved.
Well we think we’re pretty privileged to have Jane as a part of the Moreton Bay Obstetrics and Gynaecology team – thanks so much for all you do for us and our patients!