DHB midwifery like a box of chocs: "You don't know what you're going to get"

Vanessa Bryant, Clinical Midwifery Coordinator at Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, says she loves the variety of working in the Maternity ward of the Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital.

“The best part of the job is you don’t actually know what you are going to get,” Vanessa says.

Vanessa joined the DHB as a trainee in 2014 and became fully employed in 2017.

“A normal work day here is hectic,” she says.

That much is clear: Vanessa has ducked into her office for 10 minutes to do this interview but during that small window about five or six colleagues come to the door with various work questions (“Where do you want the beds to go?” “Where’s my patient going?” “Let me know when your ward is ready for cleaning?” I can see I’m going to have to keep this brief!

“Some life skills are beneficial,” is Vanessa’s response when asked what her advice is to people keen to pursue the career.

“This phone could ring any moment saying, ‘I’m coming in for a reduced foetal movements review’, or someone could be bleeding,” she says. “It’s very much an ED system.”

Born and bred in Hawke’s Bay, Vanessa is the youngest of six children. She enrolled in a local EIT health sciences foundation course in 2013, becoming the first in her family to undertake tertiary studies.

Vanessa says the Ministry of Health’s Voluntary Bonding Scheme (VBS) was a huge financial help.

The VBS funds up to $3,500 per year for five years, for midwives who choose to work in hard-to-staff areas such as Hawke’s Bay, she says.

“You have to do three years before you qualify for your first payment, which helps pay off your student loan. The bonding was a blessing.”

Seeing families created is a highlight of the job, she says.

“That first initial two minutes after the birth when people are like – ‘Holy moly I did it!’ – that’s pretty cool.

At that another midwife pops her head around the corner and says, “15s ready for you”. I take my cue.

← Back to the International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses Day 2022

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