The Tumut Hospital threw a staff shindig on Friday in honour of International Day of the Midwife, with homemade cake brought in by Acting Deputy Facility Manager Narelle McKenzie, a baby-themed collage, and balloons.
There are 12 midwives at the Tumut Hospital, and the health services took the opportunity to show their appreciation for each and every one of them.
Jenny Lees has been a midwife for eight years, and a nurse since 1986. She said working in her field in a town like Tumut is particularly rewarding.
“Especially in a rural area midwifery is really lovely, it’s very family oriented and you see those families growing up in the community,” she said.
“It’s a really lovely type of nursing. I like all my nursing but midwifery is special.”
However, as midwife Steph Guszlovan explained, midwifery in a small community does have its challenges.
In city hospitals there are enough women coming through for midwives to be employed in only that capacity. In Tumut, where there are only around 120 births a year, hospital staff have no choice but to be versatile.
“We do general nursing as well as midwifery, and a bit of emergency,” she explained.
“It just depends on what’s happening that day. Because we’re rural you really have to be a jack of all trades, you can’t just hit the buzzer and have the doctor come round – but I like that!
“[In a small hospital] you get to know the team, and you get to know the patients.”
It clearly must have some appeal – Ms Guszlovan only moved to the area recently and started work last Monday, but she’s just bought a 50 acre property for herself, her husband and their Great Dane.
“It’s a nice town here, it’s got a country feel to it which is good,” she said.
“We decided we liked it here; it’s halfway between both the in-laws, and we fell in love with the farm and they accepted our offer. So they’re stuck with me! I’m having a ball, it’s very community based, which is nice.”
Acting Deputy Facility Manager Narelle McKenzie is a midwife herself, as is Murrumbidgee Local Health Service CEO Jill Ludford, who attended the afternoon tea.
Celebrations were held across the district on Friday.