We, at Hatch Private Maternity, couldn’t be happier about the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring this year as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife. We also humbly admit to displaying a little bias when it comes to this year’s campaign as it celebrates our much-loved profession!
This year’s campaign honours the nurses and midwives who, over hundreds of years, have tirelessly worked to improve the health and well-being of others and have made an invaluable contribution to global health care. We couldn’t agree more.
Our Hatch midwives are all endorsed midwives who have undertaken additional study and training. They are committed to being leaders in their field.
The complementary theme picked by the Australian College of Nursing this year is “Champions of Change”, which acknowledges the past, present and future leaders in our field. We invite you too, to have conversations with us about the benefits of midwifery care, the opportunities for innovation, and help spread the word about the work we so dedicatedly do.
In a series of profiles during the year, we look forward to bringing you insights from our very own “Champions of Change”. We’ll interview our midwives about their profession and what is driving them into this new decade.
Today we learn more about our Director of Midwifery, Lauren Williams.
Please introduce yourself and your role at both Hatch and Eve
I am Lauren, a proud mother, wife and midwife. My professional title is Director of Midwifery Services across our two organisations – Eve Health and Hatch Private Maternity. I provide antenatal and postnatal care to women and families, manage a midwifery team of eleven and contribute to the organisations’ broader clinical governance, marketing and strategic business planning.
Why did you get into midwifery?
I don’t really feel it was a choice, rather than a calling as corny as that sounds. From a very young age I was drawn to babies, my father even made up a secret whistle to find me because I would get lost as a child following prams! Once I was old enough to understand where babies came from, my path was drawn, and I never contemplated being anything else. It helped that both my mother and stepmother had children again when I was in my early teens so I understood the pregnancy journey, became a little doula for my mum and witnessed the complexities that comes with introducing a newborn and all the transitions required to become the new version of “our family”.
What do you love most about being a midwife?
The absolute privilege that comes with supporting a couple navigate a pregnancy journey, to bear witness to people at their most vulnerable and sacred of life experiences. Most recently, I love the professional and collaborative relationships I have built that has allowed me to hold space for our profession at an executive level and be integral to the evolving landscape of quality maternity care provisions.
What does it mean to be a midwife in 2020?
Well, this is an exciting time to be a midwife… to be globally recognized by the World Health Organisation to declare 2020 to be the year of the nurse and midwife is incredibly humbling.
Like nurses, midwives work in a variety of settings both within public and private models caring for childbearing women, newborns and families across the continuum from pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, birth, postpartum and in the first six weeks of a newborn’s life. Our roles will always remain diverse to align with women’s choices. Women are much more aware of their maternity care options now, and the benefits of midwifery-led care, but will continue to make decisions based on their own independent drivers and needs, be it financial, geographical, wanting a homebirth, waterbirth, or traditional obstetric-led model.
Whatever stage of the continuum, or model of care a midwife works in, our profession comes with the knowledge, that 95% of the time we are seeing people on one of the best journeys of their lives, the other 5% means we support them through one of life’s most cruel and challenging of times. This privilege of staying in the hearts and minds of many is not lost on us, but often can become an occupational hazard leading to compassion fatigue and burn out, which ultimately impacts the quality of care we can provide, and the amount of energy we can reserve for the other little loves in our life. This is one the reasons why I am proud to be a part of this cultural shift, a new generation of maternity care providers valuing collaborative practice and redesigning maternity services to better meet the needs of women and families as well the providers who care for them.
How has the profession and your role evolved over time?
Thankfully, we have seen some significant progress for midwives in the past 10-15years that has changed the direction of midwifery in Australia. Firstly, there has been a change in regulation standards, making midwives a profession separate to nursing. Changes to the Medicare Benefit Scheme (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) has given midwives more autonomy to use their full scope of practice, allowing women to receive rebates for private midwifery services and increasing accessibility to continuity of care which remains the gold standard. These changes in both regulatory and legislative standards have increased options for maternity care services as well. In effect, we have seen widespread support for collaborative models of care, closing the historical gaps and quietening of the extremist views between midwives and obstetricians.
For me personally, this is the most exciting. I have always been a champion of change. I have been an member on several quality action groups looking at ways to improve service provisions during my years working at the Mater Mothers Hospital, completed a masters in research looking at ways to improve early labour care management and most recently part of a team that introduced an innovative team-based model aimed at creating another maternity care option.
Hatch Private Maternity has been a game changer for Brisbane families, and for maternity care providers. Our high-quality, affordable private maternity care model has met the government objectives of the National Maternity Care Plan 2010-2015 by creating more choice for families and increasing women’s access to both midwifery and obstetric expertise. For our midwives and obstetricians, it has allowed greater work-life balance, and flexibility, enabling most to continue to work in other areas including hospital settings and continuity models. Collaboration between health care providers is the key to optimising outcomes for mothers and babies, I am proud of how my career has evolved and of this team we have built ,who work with collegiality and a shared ethos, keeping the needs of mothers and babies foremost.
Need even more reasons to know why midwives are fantastic? Here are some great resources for further reading.