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An interview with Siobhan Canny, a Registered Midwife working in Galway
I have been working as a Nurse/Midwife for 12 years. My qualifications have allowed me the opportunity to travel abroad in a working / holiday manner. I have had the opportunity to meet, work and develop friendships with people from all over the world. I currently live in Galway and enjoy an active social life and am preparing to purchase a home in the city.
How did you go about getting your current job?
I have been working as a Midwife for 7 years, for 3 of these I was a Midwifery sister. At the time I was working outside of Ireland and was keen to move back home.
I found my current job advertised on the internet site careersinhealth.ie but had also been looking in the National Press and in professional journals. I applied on line which was easy and convenient for me, and was called for interview. I was interviewed by senior hospital staff on aspects of my professional experience and my education to date.
Following the interview I was advised I had been successful by a letter a week later. I had to complete a medical and go through the Garda vetting procedure prior to taking up my position.
Describe a typical day?
I generally have an early start with the shift patterns on days starting at 7.30am. At the beginning of a shift we are told by the night team what is happening on the ward at this time, for example: What women are on the ward, at what stage of pregnancy or labour they are at and any problems the women are experiencing.
We try to have one midwife per woman when they are in labour so we can support them and monitor their own and their baby's wellbeing. This gives us a good opportunity to get to know the woman and allows you to work well in labour with them.
Midwives perform all of the care for women in low risk normal uncomplicated labour and assist the medical staff with the women who have pregnancy complications. As well as the women in labour we have some women who are having Caesarean section to have their babies. We also attend these deliveries and assist the mothers and fathers with the immediate care of the new born.
The time scale on the labour ward is a little unpredictable and often we have several labour and deliveries ongoing at the same time which can be a challenge.
Like any job there are pressures, but working with a team of people, Midwives, Doctors and families who are all focused on a getting a good outcome makes the job very rewarding.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
Midwives are responsible for the care and support of normal low risk pregnancies from conception to following delivery. We work with G.P and Obstetricians in caring for women who have complicated pregnancies.
Midwives on the labour ward deliver all the babies that are born by normal vaginal delivery and we assist the doctors in the medical births like instrumental deliveries and Caesarean Sections.
I work on the labour ward and as well as looking after the women we provide education and supervision to the midwifery and medical students in GUH. We also work on developing the current service to benefit women in the ward and the hospital staff.
A large part of my job is the management and support of the midwives on the labour ward for example with organising their study leave, annual leave, managing HR issues and resource management.
What are the main challenges?
There are always challenges in providing health care. Shortages and cut backs are the norm. Sometimes you feel there is more work to be done than there is time and that when one thing starts to go wrong everything goes wrong!
This is why being part of a team is so important and working well in the team is key to its success. I think the main challenge is to stay positive and to remind yourself and others why we are here - that it is for the women and their families. This encourages you to keep going and to look forward to the next birth and the happiness this brings to a family.
It is always cool to deliver someones baby and be part of this experience with them. I am always surprised that this never gets old or boring.
I also enjoy working as part of a team and the continual new experiences and challenges you gain as part of this job. It is nice to work in a large hospital as you get to mix with lots of different people both at work and socially.
What's not so cool?
Being a Midwife comes with some serious responsibilities as your have two lives to provide care for with mum and baby. This responsibility can be a heavy weight if the pregnancy and labour are complicated and the outcomes for mum and baby are not optimal.
What makes this bearable is being able to share this with your work colleagues. Having to work shift patterns can be difficult and sometimes you have to miss a night out here and there.
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
The aspects of my career to date I am most proud of is my sucess in achieving my current role as the Manager of a Labour Ward in Galway University Hospital and the experience this job has provided.
I have several memories of women and their families and my role in their care. I feel that I have had contributed postively towards them and their outcomes. Women often remember the midwife with them in labour and I feel I would like to be rembered well by the women I have looked after.