I was born in Ithaca in upstate New York. After moving to Canberra at two years of age with my mum and two older siblings, I completed both my primary and secondary education in the ACT, before moving to Sydney at 18 to pursue a Bachelor of Science (Molecular Biology & Genetics). After gaining experience in a proteomics laboratory within the school of molecular bioscience and completing my degree in 2013, I took time off to work and travel. In March 2016, I embarked upon my Bachelor of Midwifery and am placed within the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
I wanted to study midwifery after gaining experience in laboratory research and working as a full-time nanny during my time between degrees, which allowed me to gain perspective about what I hope to gain from a career. Midwifery balances my love of science and health care while mediating my desire to collaborate with people.
I’m passionate about collaboration. I enjoy engaging in the holistic process of maternity care; working with women, developing an understanding of their social and emotional needs, and gaining context of their clinical situation to allow the provision of care that is safe and fulfilling. This fundamentally involves collaboration with women and their families, as well as collaboration within multidisciplinary health care teams. I am passionate about working across these different collaborative tiers to employ my skills of clinical judgement, empathy, ethics and compassion to promote optimal health outcomes.
I chose UTS because its midwifery course has great strength in teaching and exposure to current evidence and scientific literature. I have had the opportunity to be taught by movers and shakers within the midwifery research world, including Caroline Homer and Nikki Watts, who are generating research that informs modern clinical practice and our learning. Maternity is a dynamic field and I feel at the forefront of learning and information at UTS.
The most rewarding part of the course, and probably the simplest, is the genuine “thank you” you receive from women that you have helped through some of the most challenging and fulfilling moments of their lives as mothers. There are few instances in day-to-day life in which people show such genuine gratitude. It is a moment of sincere humanity and makes me appreciate the fact that I am privy to witness and contribute to these transformative experiences.
The previous year and a half has been an incredibly dynamic time for me as I forge my identity as a future midwife. I have met many diverse women and I have found that each one has something to contribute to my learning. I have an innate sense of self, informed by my past experiences and upbringing but I have realised through my studies that there are invaluable things to learn from other people’s experiences and perspectives. I feel as though exposure to different groups of women from different backgrounds has allowed me to grow in empathy and understanding which I aim to employ in the future to work effectively as a thoughtful and compassionate midwife.
In the future, I hope to work within Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) so that I may be able afford the benefits of continuity of midwifery care to more women, regardless of risk status in pregnancy. I feel strongly that continuity-of-care should be accessible to all pregnant women. Currently, MGP is a model of care that offers midwifery-led continuity-of-care. It is available within limited NSW hospitals to small numbers of low-risk women. Women that undertake MGP have access to a midwife as their primary carer throughout pregnancy, birth and postnatal care.
The best advice that I could give anyone embarking or wishing to embark upon a degree in midwifery is to find mentors within maternity. I have encountered many wonderful midwives and clinicians that practice in unique ways and work positively with women in challenging clinical situations. Find someone whose midwifery ideology aligns with your own and inform your practice on their behaviour, approach and demeanour. It can be challenging to find your feet in a clinical situation and to formulate a sense of identity as the student midwife. Having people to look up to and whose approach you can strive to emulate allows you to generate and idea of the kind of midwife you hope to be so that you can reflect on your current state and work towards self-actualisation.