Did you know that the average rate of midwife retention in the hospital system is 5 years? A MEASLY FIVE FREAKING YEARS! A Bachelor of Midwifery at a MINIMUM is 3 years of full-time study and direct entry midwives only make up roughly 10% of the Australian workforce.
Most midwives have either completed a bachelor of nursing and postgraduate diploma of midwifery, or a dual degree of nursing and midwifery both take at least 4 years to complete. I’ve personally spent six years of my life at uni for midwifery – studying for my bachelors and masters degrees. SIX YEARS dedicated to writing assignments, studying for exams, being on call for my clients births. Cancelling and rescheduling plans, missing time with my family and friends, sacrificing my sleep and my sanity for this profession.
Not to mention the cost. Wait for it – $33,224 is the price I paid for those two pieces of paper! And that’s only talking about the direct monetary outlay to my university. That doesn’t even take into account the tanks of fuel required to get to client appointments, the parking tickets needed for face to face study, the 1000+ hours of unpaid shift work while on prac or the cost associated with the emotional and mental fatigue.
But I’ll tell you – it would ALL be worth it if it made me happy, it brought me joy. And it did in the early days. I left most shifts with a massive goofy grin on my face – riding the highs from witnessing a womxn in her power, experiencing the magic of birth. The problem with this scenario is that the adrenaline waves associated with the high, eventually leave you feeling strung out, exhausted and drained. And those amazing births? Well they become far and few between.
I signed up for this profession because I LOVE WORKING WITH WOMXN. But the womxn aren’t the problem. The SYSTEM is. It’s cock blocking midwives like myself and I’m damn sick of it! It’s set up in a way that makes BIG money for the people and companies high up in the hierarchy, but doesn’t give a single f*ck about the little guy.
This system wants to BREAK midwives like me because we don’t want to conform to their bullshit policies and procedures. Policies and procedures that DON’T have the womxn’s needs as their top priority. Policies and procedures that serve their own selfish agendas. It’s easier to over work us. Under pay us and push us to the point of burn out. I’ve just clocked my fifth year in the industry and let me tell you – working in a hospital, governed by red tape and bureaucracy is BREAKING MY SOUL.
If the system wants to solve the current midwifery staffing crisis – they need to look at the reasons why we’re leaving! WE AREN’T HAPPY and universities pumping more student midwives out into the hospitals ISN’T THE ANSWER.
Rant to be continued another day.