Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Big Picture in Midwifery – WA Branch Report

Allow me to begin by offering a huge and heart-felt thanks to everyone who worked so tirelessly and contributed to the organisation of the ‘Big Picture in Midwifery’ tour of Western Australia. Including all of the magnificent meals provided to me whilst I travelled – I got home a more ‘rounded’ version of my former self! 
I had the absolute honour and pleasure of meeting midwives, working across all spectrums of midwifery care from all over the state – managers, educators, researchers, those working clinically in a hospital, community midwives and those in independent practice. Thank you to all of you that took time out of your busy days (and so often on your days off!) to come and hear about how the Australian College of Midwives is working hard to help you be informed about and meet the coming changes to the way that you will renew your registration and also the implications for the profession with the funding of the recent Maternity Services Review recommendations.

I arrived in Perth on Friday 13th November, excited at having been asked to speak at the WA Branch’s ‘Magic of Midwifery’ Education Day. There were over 100 midwives attending and it was such an honour to have the entire morning with this group of incredible professionals, speaking about the proposed changes, answering questions and watching the group become more motivated and inspired about the possible ways forward for the profession.
On the morning of Monday 16th November, I presented to the team of midwives at Margaret River Hospital, before heading up to Bunbury for an afternoon session, where midwives from Collie, Bridgetown, Busselton and Manjimup joined us via teleconference. Thanks to the, Nurse Unit Manager at Bunbury Regional Hospital for all her help in getting this presentation and teleconferencing facilities up and running!
Tuesday 17th November, I flew to Albany to meet with the lovely team of midwives at Albany Hospital. Thanks to the Nurse Unit Manager for picking me up from the airport (only to drive me straight back again when I realized I’d left my suitcase behind ) and for organising a great lunch! By holding the presentation close to the Ward we had a great turnout – thanks to those of you who came in on your day off!

The following day, Wednesday 18th November saw me tripping off to Kalgoorlie to be met by almost 100% of the midwifery workforce of Kalgoorlie! We had a great afternoon and as always I felt a deep sense of personal satisfaction as I watched midwives begin to realise that their professional body cares very much about them and is supporting them to be informed about and supported to meet the changes with national registration and advocates for them on a daily basis amidst some of the most politically influential medical groups.
On Thursday 19th November, I was excited to meet with a large group of midwives at St John of God Hospital in Subiaco, Perth. Thanks for organising the session and also for my lovely box of chocolates! (More padding to the ‘roundedness’ that I took home with me!) 
After a lovely weekend with my Mum and children in Margaret River, I drove to Fremantle to meet with the fabulous team at the Community Midwifery Program WA. After some regrettable delays, due to technical difficulties with the data projector, the presentation continued without a hitch! Thank you to CMWA, and to those midwives in independent practice who were able to come along.
Tuesday 24th November found me in Geraldton, and despite the fact that my plane was delayed 1 ½ hours, it was wonderful to revisit where I had spent part of my childhood. Thank you to the, Nurse Unit Manager for her help in getting me to and from the airport and especially to all the midwives who waited for me to arrive (despite the SkyWest Airlines delays!)
Wed 25th November was the day I headed off to Port Hedland. I was thrilled to see so many midwives from Port Hedland Hospital and a major midwifery contingent from Karatha and also Tom Price join us via teleconference.
I had no idea that my final day is WA was going to be such a huge finale, but Thursday 26th November held a number of gems. In the morning I met with the, Principal Midwifery Advisor for the WA Department of Health. I was gratified to see that the Dept of Health is working hard for the midwifery profession to help prepare them for national registration. WA’s first priority is workforce planning – involving creating a workforce planning committee and looking at details like:
• How many midwives are there in WA?
• Where are they working?
• How many students and graduates are there?
• What models of care exist in WA?
• What is an appropriate midwifery workforce model to discern appropriate staffing requirements for maternity care?

The Principal Midwifery Advisor is clearly committed to her role as and is keen to make a swift and positive impact for West Australian midwives.
The final presentation of the tour ended at the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth. We had an overwhelming attendance of 26 midwives from the King Edward and no less than 13 sites joining us via teleconference!

Thanks to every midwife from Newman, Rockingham, Bentley, Busselton, Katanning, Derby, Narrogin, Broome, Denmark and Kalgoorlie who were able to attend!
I was so lucky to spend time travelling the state meeting with many midwives, and I can only hope that those of you that I met are now championing all the new and exciting information to your colleagues to make sure that every midwife is feeling supported to meet these changes! Please remember to keep in touch – that’s what a professional body is for – to support you and offer you a community.

Remember, the strength of the profession, lies in the diversity of the care that you offer women. Celebrate being ‘with woman’, in whatever way that looks like for you –WE DO!!!I look forward to seeing you again in 2010!

Kindest regards

Abby Clemence
National Programs Manager

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