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With the gender pay gap in the headlines, midwives are working hard for change. And that’s fitting, given midwifery is a career that supports women, babies and whānau, enabling change in so many lives.
“There is nothing quite like midwifery. It is so enormously rewarding and challenging and it is such an honour being there for women and their whānau,” says Norma Campbell, after nearly four decades in the profession.
“And every year you gain more understanding of humankind, of pregnancy, of babies. The job satisfaction is amazing.”
Norma, Director of Midwifery at Canterbury/West Coast DHB, graduated with a Master of Midwifery from Otago Polytechnic, one of New Zealand’s pioneering schools of midwifery.
IT’S ABOUT PARTNERSHIP
Partnership is a key concept of the New Zealand midwifery model, with midwives caring for women and their whānau from early pregnancy to six weeks after a birth. Few other countries enable midwives to practice autonomously, providing continuous care throughout the childbearing experience.
“Our model of midwifery is recognised internationally as delivering better outcomes and more satisfied women,” says Alison Eddy, Deputy Chief Executive of the New Zealand College of Midwives.
“The word midwife means ‘with woman’ and is reflective of the midwife’s role in accompanying the woman on her journey through pregnancy and childbirth into motherhood.”
“There is a strong and growing body of evidence that New Zealand’s midwifery-led model is the optimal way for women to receive maternity care,” she says. “Many countries look to New Zealand as a model to aspire to.”
Otago Polytechnic’s School of Midwifery, Te Kura Atawhai kā Kaiakopono te Hākuitaka, began educating midwives in the early ‘90’s as soon as midwifery autonomy and direct entry midwifery education was introduced.
“We’ve now graduated more than 450 midwives, have post-graduate programmes taking midwives through to Masters level, and 100% of our graduates find employment if they want,” says Professor Sally Baddock, Otago Polytechnic’s Co-Head of Midwifery.
“Recent graduates include Jana Walshe, who received the “2018 Graduate Midwife of the Year” award from the Counties Manukau DHB.”
Co-Head of Midwifery, Christine Griffiths, says, “Otago Polytechnic’s success relates to its exceptional approach to flexible learning and innovative programme delivery.”
“Study is partly online and partly face to face, so students can stay in their own communities across the lower North Island and lower South Island while they study, and fit study around other demands. Students are grouped into “satellites”, and local lecturers are spread through areas where students are based.”
“Currently, we have satellites in three parts of Wellington (Kapiti, Porirua and Lower Hutt), Whanganui, Palmerston North, Dunedin, Southland and Central Otago.
“Students stay in their community, helping build their communities during study, and often remain in their community to work as midwives.”
People from particularly diverse backgrounds, from farming to fashion, go into midwifery, helped by Otago Polytechnic’s flexible delivery model, which allows students to fit study around other demands such as family, and also provides strong support for Maori and Pasifika students.
Malita Fanning chose midwifery after working in Telecommunications Marketing for eight years. She studied for a Bachelor of Midwifery degree through Otago Polytechnic’s Wellington satellite while living at home raising her young family.
“Otago Polytechnic was the only institute that offered this type of flexibility. The online learning meant I could pick and choose when I did my study,” Malita says.
“It’s all encompassing – the study, the practice, following the women, following the midwife, and living the life of a midwife as a student. It makes it real. I can’t imagine doing it anywhere else.”
The most rewarding aspect about her new profession, Malita says, is supporting women to overcome challenges, before, during, or after the birth.
“Supporting women to overcome challenges is an awesome experience.”
Published on 12 September 2018
Orderdate: 12 Sep 2018
Expiry: 31 Jan 2020