5 May 2023

Midwifery was a natural transition for University of Canberra mature-age student

| Katrina Condie
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Lucy Armitage is studying midwifery at the University of Canberra. Photo: Kelly White.

The transition from doula and prenatal yoga teacher to midwife came naturally for Burrill Lake mother of three Lucy Armitage.

After working alongside pregnant women for many years, Lucy says she “felt compelled to play a bigger role in their birthing journeys”, so in 2020 – while pregnant with her third son – she commenced a Bachelor of Midwifery at the University of Canberra.

She studied part-time for the first two years and, with a newborn to care for, said the flexibility of studying from home during COVID-19 was a bonus. Last year she switched to full-time study and is excited to graduate at the end of the year.

Since October, as part of her university placement, Lucy has been gaining hands-on experience working with women receiving care at Moruya Hospital, as well as The Nest of Moruya and the Milton Family Medical Practice.

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Building on her career as a doula and yoga teacher, Lucy has found her dream placement. She is thrilled to work with medical practices that provide a holistic experience for expectant mothers on the South Coast.

“It’s crucial for midwives to provide continuity of care for women for the duration of their pregnancy journey,” she said.

“The continuity of care midwifery model is the gold standard for women. You engage and create relationships with women, and it’s so good to get to know them on a deeper level.

“When you’ve been working with women through their antenatal care, you get to know their wishes and their family members, so when it comes to the birth, it’s a really organic experience for them.”

With fragmented care often the only option for pregnant women, Lucy supports the roll-out of the “one woman, one midwife” approach at many medical practices, which she says has resulted in improved birth outcomes for women and babies.

“It’s a flexible way for midwives to work and is a great way to engage and create relationships with women so they feel supported by a midwife that they know. You become part of their journey.

“If we get the birth right, everything else is much easier – for babies, women, families and the community as a whole,” she added.

Most women she has been working with have given birth at Moruya Hospital; however, others have opted for home births.

Studying midwifery at the University of Canberra has provided Lucy with a flexible, family-friendly environment. She is working alongside a few other students juggling work, life, study and kids.

“UC was the closest university offering the Bachelor of Midwifery program and I really liked the application process, which included prior work experiences and essay-based application. I had the opportunity to demonstrate what I’d done previously, and those experiences could be merged into my next career as a midwife,” she said.

“Having achieved success within my own career, going back to uni as a mature-age student has been a very humbling experience. But, because I’m older and I know it’s what I want to do now, it’s been really enjoyable. I’m working so hard and getting great marks.”

Lucy was awarded a research scholarship last year and has written a paper and presented at research conferences. She also received the Dr Jenny Brown Award for Brave and Thoughtful Midwifery Work.

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On 5 May, the International Day of the Midwife, Lucy encourages other women to consider a rewarding career in midwifery.

“I love it so much. I’ve been really well supported, and the Bachelor of Midwifery is a really comprehensive course that covers all aspects of women-led care through pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period,” she said.

“The course placement has given me the opportunity to practise my skills. I can feel how much I’ve progressed and I’m feeling confident going into work and applying to be a midwife at the end of the year,” she said.

UC’s innovative Bachelor of Midwifery degree accepts a small cohort of students each year, which allows for a highly flexible and personalised learning experience.

The degree provides graduates with an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women and their families, and to play a vital role in building strong communities as a creative and socially valuable midwife.

Find out more about the University of Canberra Faculty of Health courses, which include midwifery, nursing, physiotherapy, public health and more.

Original Article published by Katrina Condie on Riotact.

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