Ann, late 50s
How did you become a midwife?
For Ann the decision to become a midwife was all in the family. "My grandmother was a nurse, my mother was a physio, my father was a radiographer, so I guess hospital work appealed to me," Ann says. She's been a midwife for over 30 years and currently works at a country hospital, which delivers 400 babies a year.
All those deliveries must add up to a lot of babies delivered over the years. "I've never kept track," Ann laughs. "Any new midwives I meet I advise them to keep a record, because it would be so lovely to look back on that."
To become a midwife Ann studied first as a nurse then specialised in midwifery by training at Adelaide's Women's and Children's Hospital, which is the state's biggest birthing centre. She believes she got a solid medical background from her nursing qualification that helped her to specialise as a midwife. "Otherwise, you've done all the theory, but it's hard to put that into practice."
What does a midwife do?
"It's happy work and basically people are appreciative of what you do," Ann smiles. "Sometimes they're surprised by how much a midwife does and how little a doctor does during a delivery."
While it's rewarding work, midwifery is also very labour intensive. "The case load is one-to-one, so you have to have one midwife to one labouring lady and another midwife will take any mid-related patients, whether they are ante-natal or post-natal patients."
Midwives also take care of newborn children as well as look after mothers who might have health conditions.
What are some of the pros and cons of the job?
For Ann midwifery allows her a fair degree of flexibility. Her hospital is self-rostering, so she can choose her shifts based on her other commitments "I work nightshift, because I like the independence. I can't even imagine doing a 9-5 job and having to collect children from school, cook tea and do all that."
While many midwifes are women, the profession is open to men and Ann reckons men are often well regarded by patients: "The women that do have them have loved them just as much as a female carer." It's also a profession that knows no international boundaries as Ann says, "You can go straight to America and work or England, even Europe without having to have any other qualifications."
For a veteran midwife like Ann, one of the biggest thrills is delivering the babies for parents that she originally delivered herself all those years ago, so she has two generations of deliveries. "You don't really remember them as a baby, and their mother might say "Is so-and-so still in the hospital?" and then they'll seek you out to say "You delivered me!" Ann laughs.
Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).