Here I am, a routine based, homebody, ‘play it safe’ girl who only likes uncertainty and unpredictability in short bursts of adrenaline precipitated by emergency bells and the hustle bustle of life saving measures in the comfort of a cushy tertiary level hospital environment.
But have I always been like that?
In a sense, yes. That introverted nature is strong in me that drives my need for creature comforts, predictability and certainty, but I also crave excitement and unpredictability too – in manageable and predictable ways ofcourse! The irony is strong here – and i’m not asking for much I know! #highmaintenance
Hence why my job gives me the satisfaction I need – to quench my thirst for drama, unpredictability and emergencies whilst still maintaining a calm and drama free home and personal life (yes I’m a drama queen but scorpios thrive on life and death and emergency management and are very over-represented in medical and health related careers).
This is why I have so enjoyed my career thus far at Waikato Hospital – the tertiary DHB with the largest catchment area in New Zealand. The diversity and extent of pregnancy and newborn complications I have seen and worked with here is what I could only read about in textbooks when I was studying and working in a small hospital – and as morbid as it sounds to be excited about such things – this has given me a solid foundation of knowledge in high risk and complicated pregnancies.
Although the New Zealand Midwifery system is based on being autonomous practitioners in normal pregnancy and birth, I believe there is a niche for us all within the context of Midwifery from the homebirth Midwives to the Midwives who thrive in the tertiary environment, High Dependency Unit, Fetal Medicine etc
And although I have thrived in my time at Waikato DHB, I feel that I have become stagnant. I have worked in all of the areas I can and taken on all of the extra projects, study and elective education that has been offered to me but I now feel ready for a new challenge. It has been this tertiary experience, and my keen interest and extra study in high risk pregnancy and birth that makes me feel comfortable to know that I have a unique skill set to offer.
So I decided, after hearing from some colleagues that have worked in Australia, to apply to work in remote rural Australia. The reason I chose this was partly because the tertiary level environment was starting to take its toll on me and I felt that due to the dire situation that Waikato DHB was in with its staffing crisis that I was teetering on the verge of burnout (as a coordinator of the Womens Assessment Unit the responsibility felt enormous in the current climate of Midwifery at Waikato).
I decided that remote rural work would tick all the boxes for me – it would give me a necessary reprieve from a constantly busy and stressful work environment whilst also challenging me in other ways. It would challenge me because I had become comfortable in the tertiary environment of always having other staff around to assist me or to be able to press the emergency bell and have people attend in a matter of seconds.
Rural work would be different and would challenge and encourage me to go back to basics and to rely on the skills that are sometimes pushed to the side in the technologically driven hospital environment. This felt paramount to me after working in a tertiary hospital for 4 and a half years – I was determined to ensure I wasn’t becoming institutionalized, and I couldn’t think of anything worse than working in one place for my entire career!
So I signed up with Health Care Australia, an agency for health profesionals, and requested rural and remote contracts anywhere in Australia (each state practices differently) to commence from June 2017 – with an initial idea of working in Australia for a year, which has now evolved into an open ended ‘maybe 3 or 4 years but we’ll see’ type answer.
This work allows the flexibility to take on contracts when I want them, and to travel when I want to, with the added bonus of higher renumeration than New Zealand Midwifery to fund said travels. The case manager I have at HCA says her sister (a nurse) travels for 6 months and works for 6 months of the year, and the agency work provides the pay and the freedom to maintain that lifestyle – so that’s the plan!
As of today, 3rd May, I am still currently awaiting my first contract, knowing that I am leaving the country on the 27th of May. This is getting me a touch nervous (I am not the type of person to resign with nothing to go to) but I have faith that it will work out as there are so many shortages of Midwives in the remote rural sector and I had my first interview today so here’s hoping!
Feel free to follow me on my journey and to offer any wisdom or advice along the way – I am receptive to it all as I’m just flying by the seat of my pants here!