Since qualifying as a midwife in 2011, I have predominantly worked on the labour, antenatal and postnatal wards at the Countess of Chester Hospital, working 12.5-hour shifts both days and nights. My working day typically begins at 5.45am.
I get up, shower, dress, make myself a strong coffee and breakfast then get my children ready for school.
I like to arrive at work 15-20 minutes before the beginning of my shift to find out how the woman I cared for on the previous shift is and to sit with my colleagues for a brief coffee and chat before our shift commences.
At 8am we’re allocated a woman to care for and receive handover details with her obstetric history and care needs.
The variety within my role is phenomenal and the need to adapt to different women’s needs and circumstances is an essential prerequisite; you never know what the day will bring.
I could begin the day caring for a woman attending for an elective caesarean section, a woman with complex medical or obstetric needs requiring additional interventions and continuous monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat or a woman suitable for low risk care in one of our newly refurbished midwifery-led birthing suites which include the option of birthing in water.
Regardless of how they give birth, welcoming and orientating them to the labour ward and preparing them for their impending transition to parenthood is a vital part of my role.
I review their notes, familiarise myself with their care so far and identify any additional needs that may be required during their care in the hospital and beyond.
I work with them to facilitate their birth plan and provide support whilst ensuring the wellbeing of mum and baby.
Once we’ve welcomed their baby into the world I support the woman and her partner with their chosen method of feeding and encourage their independence in caring for their new arrival.
Every aspect of care I provide is documented on the compulsory paperwork and when I am satisfied that the woman’s blood pressure, pulse, temperature and blood loss are normal and that baby is well I transfer the new family to the postnatal ward for their ongoing care.
After quickly grabbing lunch in the staff room I could then be allocated another labouring woman to care for or be assigned to our assessment/triage area.
Here I will review women for a variety of reasons: they may think they are in labour, have queries about their baby’s movements or who have been referred by their GP or community midwife with raised blood pressure to name but a few reasons.
Of course, none of this is done in isolation. I work closely with my midwifery, obstetric, theatre staff and healthcare assistant colleagues to ensure that each woman has the appropriate care for her obstetric and emotional needs.
I’m also on hand to check drugs as needed, answer the emergency buzzer in the event of obstetric emergencies or answer telephone calls from women ringing our unit.
The shift finishes at 8.30pm. Following handover, I make my way home then spend 10 minutes with my children before they go to bed.
Either royal blue scrubs or navy trousers and a pale blue and white pinstripe tunic.
What is the favourite part of your job?
Supporting women and their partners in what is most of the time the happiest occasion of their lives. I like to be able to go home from work feeling that I have done this to the best of my ability and made a significant impact on their birth experience and transition to parenthood.
What is the least favourite part of your job?
Paperwork! I think this would be considered everybody’s least favourite part of the day but a necessary evil.
What would be your dream job if you weren’t doing what you do now?
Charity work in a Third World country.
How do you relax when you’re not working?
We regularly have friends round for barbecues or a takeaway. I enjoy reading or curling up in front of the television with my daughters and a good film. We are members of Chester Zoo and regularly enjoy afternoons as a family visiting. I am currently on maternity leave and am enjoying lunch dates with fellow midwives who are also new mums.
What is your favourite film?
Usually anything that involves Brad Pitt can be considered amongst my favourite films! Legends of the Fall, Interview with The Vampire to name a couple. But I also love The Bodyguard!
What is your favourite book?
I absolutely love The Hunger Games books and I’m a sucker for a Jane Austen novel too!
What is your favourite song?
I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables, although it makes me cry.
If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you?
- Name: Holly Cameron-Smith
- Job: Hospital-based midwife
- Born: Countess of Chester Hospital
- Lives: Deeside
- Education: Ysgol Maes Garmon, Mold, Deeside College, University of Chester
- Family: Married with four daughters aged 12, 10, five and two months
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