Wise women of Westmead – 500 years’ experience celebrated

Westmead Hospital midwives
Virginia Walker, Florence Ong, Roza Bindshedler, Kathy Summers, Sandra Hadden, Vicki Wilde-Shooter, Deidre Fleming, Catherine Boon, Colleen Potter, Kathy Gordon and Julianne Reay have a wealth of midwifery experience!

Westmead Hospital will mark International Midwives Day 2017 (May 5) by celebrating a group of midwives who have collectively worked more than 500 years at the facility.

The midwives have assisted thousands of mums bring bubs into the world.

Westmead Hospital’s midwifery nurse operations manager Julie Swain said midwives like Jenny Johansen had provided more than 30 years’ service.

“They are knowledgeable, empathetic and a little bit bossy at times, but all have hearts of gold,” she said.

“You could fill consecutive editions of midwifery textbooks with what these midwives know.”

Many things have changed since the first babies were born at Westmead in the late 1970’s: midwives no longer wear the classic white veil or little white cap and pregnant women no longer have their urine boiled to assess for pre-eclampsia.

Shaves and enemas before birth have been abandoned and technology, along with continuity models of care, have advanced the profession.

Many things though, have remained a constant through the years.

Virginia Walker said midwives had to listen to the pregnant mother and be guided by what she wants.

Colleen Potter, a midwife with more than 25 years’ experience, said basic nursing skills remained integral.

Midwife Catherine Boon said it was important to “not take yourself too seriously, use humour and be more light-hearted.”

For midwife Vicki Wilde-Shooter: “a midwife has to be there in the moment if they want to make a difference.”

Westmead Hospital congratulates and commends all its midwives for their dedication and commitment.

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