Lismore midwifery grads head back to bush

Griffith Bachelor of Midwifery graduates in Logan
Charmaine Backhouse and Ina Hoffmann at the graduation in Logan

Among Griffith’s first graduates from its Bachelor of Midwifery were two women who believe their rural experience to be the difference between a good and great education.

Charmaine Backhouse and Ina Hoffmann completed the majority of their education at Lismore Base Hospital and while hardly an outstation, it’s a long way from the enormous city hospitals.

It aint all babies and cakes

“They don’t have a load of registrars so the midwives are really multiskilled, and being a slightly slower pace gives you a chance to actually take on some of those skills,” said Ms Backhouse.

“Lismore also had a lot experienced midwives with all those great stories and skills that you just never hear about in the bigger hospitals…

…And the cakes are better.”

Staff attention

The two midwifery graduates were so highly regarded that their manager travelled from Lismore to attend their graduation at Logan.

Brad Mills, midwifery unit manager at Lismore Base agrees that there are both technical and community based reasons for the enhanced education at a rural hospital.

“It’s because we’re not a large tertiary hospital, we don’t have all the equipment and medical specialists, they have to use their skills and not rely on technology,” he said.

“Rural health also depends on retention, and the best way to attract and retain staff is to be interested in the students.

Social attention

“In a small community it’s also possible to see the same woman through two pregnancies and this changes the social dynamic completely and how you communicate and care for people.

“Especially if you’re likely to see them down the street and they introduce you to their friend with, ‘this is … and she delivered my children. There’s no feeling quite like it.