Midwives in the United Kingdom and Ireland thinking about a career change are encouraged to explore the opportunities available in metropolitan and regional areas of Western Australia.
Maternity services in WA have seen significant reforms with midwives offered opportunities across varying models of care such as community midwifery programs, midwifery group practice and hospital care. For Amanda, a clinical midwife specialist, it was the promise of a better family life that clinched the decision to move from Portsmouth to work in Perth’s Fiona Stanley Hospital.
“Midwifery in Perth is very similar, woman-focused, and there are lots of opportunities for British midwives to share their skills and experience,” Amanda said. Amanda’s qualifications and skills were obvious to those in charge, and she has been promoted within the system in a short time. “There are opportunities for advancement, and I have no regrets about coming over – the best thing I ever did” she said.
For English-born and trained midwife Joan Cummins, the lure of adventure and the opportunity to refine her craft, brought her to Western Australia more than 20 years ago. Joan is now a clinical nurse manager and practising midwife at Kununurra Hospital in Western Australia’s far north Kimberley region, and says coming to Western Australia was one of the best decisions of her life.
“I was a typical English girl, looking for adventure,” she said. “After training as a midwife in England’s northern provincial hospitals and working as a homebirth midwife, I eventually settled in Kununurra. It was – and still is – an amazing adventure.”
Joan said she loved working in a small remote hospital because of the huge variety in her work and the tightknit supportive team. “As a midwife in Kununurra, I not only get to see mothers and babies, but I end up having involvement in treating the whole family,” she said.
“I have also established midwifery-led clinics which enables our midwives to do antenatal and postnatal work in remote areas, such as Aboriginal communities in the desert.”
“There is more opportunity to practice your craft in a small or remote hosptal.” Joan said midwives at Kununurra Hospital worked in a team with GP obstetricians, and were given a lot of decision making capacity.
“At the hospital, newcomers are usually invited 4-wheel driving or to a backyard BBQ almost as soon as they arrive and there is a lot of movement in the community. It is a dynamic place.”
The strong community spirit made it the perfect environment to raise her three children.
“There is a strong family element in Kununurra – we had seven nurses on maternity leave last year – and 50 per cent met their men here!”
To meet growing demand in the health system, WA Health is looking to recruit suitably qualified nurses with a minimum of 2 – 5 years recent experience in:
- operating theatre
- emergency department
- mental health (child and adolescent)
- community child health
- palliative care
- community and public health
WA Health will only offer employment to those midwives who have met the registration requirements and have the in-demand skills.