Despite a challenging pandemic enveloping our globe, midwives have continued their selfless roles delivering thousands of babies around the clock, while also campaigning for safe staffing ratios in NSW.
On International Day of the Midwife (5 May), the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) is honouring the resilience of its midwifery members and their determination to support mothers and babies, despite the tough working conditions.
NSWNMA President and midwife, O’Bray Smith, said on International Day of the Midwife it was important to thank midwives for keeping mothers and babies safe, and to support their calls for midwife-to-mother ratios across NSW.
“Day in day out, you are giving every single part of you to the women and babies in your care so there is nothing left. We see you and we are so grateful,” said Ms Smith.
“When you go home at the end of a shift with the faces of the mothers and babies you looked after etched into your minds, concerned about what’s going to happen to them on the next shift because it’s short-staffed, or distressed and devastated by what’s just happened to them on your shift.
“You need to tell your stories to those people who can legislate ratios – make them hear you.”
NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said the efforts of midwives during public health crisis had not wavered and it was time the NSW government honoured their commitment to the community.
“Midwives did not shy away from the multiple challenges this pandemic has thrown at them, or their support of the mothers and babies in their care,” said Mr Holmes.
“We’ve exposed some pretty horrendous under-staffing that’s occurring in maternity services across our public hospitals and there’s plenty of examples where more improvements are needed.
“Not only do we need more midwives and for newborns to be counted in patient numbers, we also need increased clinical support and respectful pay rates to encourage midwives to stay in the profession.”
NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Judith Kiejda, said midwives are extraordinary at performing under pressure and are constantly putting mothers and babies first.
“Midwifery is a physically demanding role, from support during a delivery to helping mums with breastfeeding, midwives are instrumental in the care journey,” Ms Kiejda said.
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing too many burn out because they’re constantly short-staffed or working overtime. It’s not sustainable and our government is accountable.”
The NSWNMA is currently seeking staffing improvements to maternity services and fair pay for midwives in NSW public hospitals.