Oral health staff offer helping hands in maternity

New mum Lily, with the birth of her new baby Paula, experienced the additional helping hands of redeployed dental staff Tory David and Rosemary Bendeiri.

While dental departments temporarily ceased operations from April to August due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Women’s and Newborn Health service has benefitted from the additional support of deployed staff.

Experienced dental nurses have helped midwives care for new mums through the pandemic and supported Westmead Hospital Safer Baby program, part of a nationwide stillbirth risk reduction program.

Westmead Clinical Midwifery Consultant Susan Heath said the additional assistance had made a big difference to the department’s workflow during the pandemic.

“The girls were so helpful – we managed to conduct more surveys for the Safer Baby program, and our new mothers received really good care,” Susan said.

Westmead oral health nurse Rosemary Bendeiri and Mount Druitt dental nurse Tory David.

“We were very lucky to receive their help. We’ll be happy to have them in the future, if they ever need to be transferred again.”

Mount Druitt dental nurse Tory David said her redeployment to Westmead maternity was something she would always remember with a smile.

She said being a mother of two helped her to provide better care and share knowledge and skills with the new mums.

“Having a baby is a big change, no matter how mentally prepared you think you are,” Tory said. “Some new mums get overwhelmed, and that’s okay. I often stayed with them to have a chat and just give them company.

“I assisted a few ladies whose families were unable to travel from overseas. They couldn’t make it to welcome the baby into the family and help mother to adapt to the new life. I taught these ladies how to change nappies and wrap their baby.

“I felt lucky being there. Midwives are always busy and it was good to have extra hands on board to provide good care for mothers and their little ones.”

The staff enjoyed the experience of helping mums like Lily.

For oral health nurse Rosemary Bendeiri, a transfer to maternity came as a surprise.

“I’ve worked in Westmead oral health for 25 years and it was quite a change for me. I was nervous, but everyone made me feel very welcome,” Rosemary said. 

“I helped midwives as much as I could. I changed batteries in equipment, attended to mums and even delivered flowers for them!

“The best part of it was seeing newborn babies and happy parents. There is nothing better than celebrating a new life.

“Being back in oral health is like coming home, but I would definitely work in maternity again if an opportunity comes along.”

Both Tory and Rosemary have returned to their usual workplaces as dental departments reopened.