Roma's midwives go the extra mile
ROMA'S midwives are always on the job, even when they are away from the maternity ward.
The team of eight delivers about 150 babies each year but it is only the tip of the iceberg of a midwife's role at a rural hospital.
The newest member of the team, Miriam Clarke, told The Western Star a midwife's day could be unpredictable.
"You can have an idea of what your day is going to be like and it might be the complete opposite,” she said.
"A lot of it depends on if we have women who might be coming up to be induced, which means we might have shorter scheduled days.
"Other times we might be going out and doing outreach, travelling to Mitchell, Surat and Injune, we could be doing postnatal home visits, antenatal visits or it could be a mixture of it all.”
Recent changes at other rural hospitals have sent even more women to the capable hands of the Roma team.
Ms Clarke said Roma was helping even more women give birth after the closure of Chinchilla Hospital's maternity unit.
"Because of Chinchilla's situation at the moment, and Miles don't do births, we actually have women who are quite far away who willcome and birth here, which is quite good for our area,” she said.
Colleague Fiona Holmes said women were coming from further afield.
"Women come to us from Chinchilla, Taroom and Drillham - here, there and everywhere really - to birth with us,” she said.
"It can put more pressure on us as a group, because it can be more complex to organise the care for them.
"You have to make sure they have someone there and then if they ring you with something that sounds like an emergency, you have to co-ordinate that with one of the doctors from here in Roma and make sure that what is happening out there is appropriate. So it can be quite complicated.”
The mammoth task of organising so many women was a team effort for the midwives, who work on a Midwifery Group Practice model to share the workload, long- serving rural midwife Mary Weber said.
"The model is called Midwifery Group Practice, and in Roma we have the midwifery-led service, which means the midwives book the ladies in and they organise their care and also work within a team with our obstetricians, physios, dieticians and diabetic educators and all of those sorts of people,” she said.
"We lead the care, organise it, and support the woman through her experience with ante-natal, birthing, and post-natal care.
"The evidence has shown that a known midwife, who gives continuity of care to a woman, will have the best outcome.
"We work within that framework and have a buddy system. We are all only human and there could be illness or leave, so the woman will get to know a buddy midwife to her main midwife, who can be there when the other has to be off duty.
"So we do have to work together to maintain a work-life balance for everybody and we have a really good, cohesive group who are all on the same page with the philosophy of putting the woman at the centre of the care, while also making sure that everything is operationally safe for her through her pregnancy, during birth and after birth.”
TRACEY is in charge of the team of Roma midwives. Being from the country, her background is part of what drew her to rural practice.
She says she often receives photos from women who have recently birthed with them and will try to fit them all on a cork board in the maternity ward.
LUCY trained as both a nurse and midwife in Brisbane before coming out to Roma.
She says midwifery is a 24/7 job, which can see them take texts or phone calls from the women in their care at any time.
KELSEY is a lifelong local and was born in Roma Hospital herself.
She is a registered nurse and midwife.
Kelsey runs the New Parent Cafe, which is run weekly and encourages new parents to socialise together as a way of combating postnatal depression.