The specialist work of midwives is celebrated across the globe each year on 5 May as part of International Day of the Midwife.
KDH has a tradition of honouring the most outstanding contribution by a midwife, as nominated by peers and selected by the Executive Team.
The memorial award honours Dr Sarwat Shenouda, who was the cornerstone of our obstetric service for over 20 years. He was highly regarded by peers and the community he served before he passed away in 2019.
The 2022 recipient is Tania Nicholson, Inpatients Nurse Unit Manager.
Tania was nominated for ‘Going above and beyond to support the midwives in her team to care for women in our community. From working on the floor, staying late and going on call when needed. Especially during a time that has been challenging for the maternity team. She has been an advocate for our midwifes and women birthing. Her role is not an easy one, but she is appreciated and respected for all her efforts. Tania always demonstrates balanced clinical thinking and assessment which is the essence of Dr Sarwat Shenouda.’
After receiving the award Tania was kind enough to take a trip down memory lane and share an insight into her life as a midwife, mother and valuable part of the KDH team.
What attracted you to midwifery?
My mother was a midwife and dinner table conversations would always be beautiful stories about women having babies that simply intrigued me. As a registered nurse I specialised in neonatal care. I remember thinking one day - when responding to a Code Blue in a tertiary hospital – “Gee, these babies are so complex when they arrive here. I really need to learn about what goes on during pregnancy and birth. I’m going to study to be a midwife.”
What qualities to you bring to midwifery?
Empathy, compassion, professionalism, calmness and life experience. I am a registered nurse and a midwife with neonatal care and maternity emergency response training. As a mother I experienced breastfeeding issues and the emotions that ‘failure’ brings. This took me along a path of further learning and I became a lactation consultant to support women just like me.
I pride myself in providing excellent care, process driven and women-centric leadership, with a strong quality aspect. However, I am just the traffic director as the KDH team of midwives do all the work. They are exceptional in their care, scope and professionalism.
Why is midwifery such an important specialty in modern times?
There will always be babies coming into this world, and people leaving. This profession will always be needed. But our community is becoming more complex with medical conditions and pregnancy complications. The midwife’s role has always been to work with women to educate, support and achieve birthing goals.
Birth is a celebration, gathering with your closest to welcome your baby into the world. This was not possible during COVID-19, and our midwives became the support person, the confidante, primary carer and counsellor, just to name a few. We are privileged that women allow us to fulfill these role. After every birth I drive home thinking how lucky I am to have been a part of that family’s ‘new beginnings,’ witnessing their child entering the world.
What will you do with the $500 award prize?
I would love to put this towards improving maternity, birthing and healthcare in another country. I have done this previously in Fiji, where I birthed women on the land. It shaped my skills and knowledge and opened my eyes. We are very lucky in Australia with our level of health care, and it’s always humbling to be reminded.
KDH is thrilled to present this award to Tania and keep the spirit of Dr Shenouda running through our Health Service.