Meet our amazing ACU graduate of midwifery Kate Gleeson who has studied to enter this rewarding career. She spoke with us to tell us what it is like to be a midwife.
Why did you decide to be a midwife?
I have four children so throughout my pregnancies, I watched as the midwives cared for my babies and I and that made me realise that having a good midwife can make or break your labour/birth/postnatal experience. I was lucky enough to be taught to be a midwife by the midwives who cared for me during my last two pregnancies. I wanted to be able to give women the same wonderful experiences that I had, and ensure the negative experiences I had didn’t happen to women in my care.
What does a day in the life of a midwife look like?
Well, no two days are ever the same! Working shift work means I can start work early in the mornings, afternoons or during the night. I can work in the birth suite, postnatal ward, Special Care Nursery and in theatre for caesarean sections. Some days we are crazy busy and don't stop the whole shift, and other days we get to spend lots of time one-on-one with the women in our care.
What are the biggest challenges you have as a midwife?
I think being responsible for the care of not only the woman but also for a baby (that we can't even see during labour) is a big challenge sometimes! My challenge at the moment is having midwifery students with me in birth suite and trying to teach them, when not too long ago I was the student.
What skills and attributes make a great midwife?
I think first and foremost you need to genuinely care for the women and babies in your care. You have to have compassion and empathy. You need to have the ability to walk into one room and share in someone's joy for their new baby and then walk into the next room and be a shoulder for someone to cry on as they experience an immense loss or trauma. You need to be an expert in normal birth while being vigilant about any deviations from normal. You need to be able to think quickly in an emergency and be mindful of what the patient or doctor might want before they know they want it. You need to have exceptional time management skills to be able to fit in the amount of work we do in every shift and you need to be a good teacher, so the mothers feel comfortable learning from you and asking all the questions they need to leave hospital feeling ready to conquer parenthood.
Why is midwifery a fulfilling career?
Being a midwife is a wonderful career as you get to support women and their families through some of the most incredible yet challenging and vulnerable days of their lives. I like that we are able to be the village for women during their stay with us as not everyone has that when they go home. It's a career where you know you get to make a big difference in someone's experience, and in my hospital we are lucky enough to have the continuity to support someone through the birth of their baby, then care of them on the postnatal ward over the following days.
What would you say to someone considering midwifery as a career?
Being a midwife is the most wonderful yet stressful job. It’s not easy getting though a degree with such large amounts of [practical study] and follow through journeys but it is absolutely worth every second to have a career like this! All of the study prepares you for not only practicing as a midwife, but also for the continuing study we do throughout our careers to extend our skills and keep up with best practice.