BY TOBY PORTER
If men gave birth – well, they would probably ask their partners to do it for them anyway.
Which may be one reason why the nurses who welcome us all into the world are called midwives.
Jade Rankine has seen it all in four years of supervising childbirth – three of them at Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust.
She will be one of the many professionals showing visitors how it’s done at University Hospital, Lewisham and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Charlton, during the next two weeks.
The open days are part of a recruitment drive to try and find new, dedicated general and children’s nurses and midwives for the area.
These recruits will help see the next generation of South London mothers and children safely through the most painful – but also more rewarding – experiences of their lives.
These days, mothers can choose between the full range of birth plans, from natural methods to C-sections – but sadly, hopes for a pain-free event, like a baby being dropped from the sky by a stork, may prove elusive.
Jade, who now teaches the discipline, said: “Every woman’s experience is different, and every baby is special.
“The first time I observed a birth I was really nervous, but seeing mum and dad with their new baby just made my nerves disappear.
“Before I started in midwifery I didn’t know much about it but I knew I wanted to be involved.
“My role is to support newly-qualified midwives throughout their first year, although I’m still a working midwife and still deliver babies.”
Her role is to observe newly-qualified midwives and help them develop their skills. She also attends the University of Greenwich one day a week to assist with teaching practical skills.
“I really do enjoy my job, and this is such a friendly place to work,” she said. “Everyone is very supportive – there’s always someone I can go to for advice – and I’ve been able to go on lots of training courses to progress in my career. With midwifery there are lots of different avenues you can go down – it’s an ever evolving area.
“Midwifery is very advanced in the UK. We are advocates for women and put them at the centre of care. We have midwife-led birth centres at both hospitals (QEH and University Hospital Lewisham), where women with uncomplicated pregnancies can have as natural a birth as possible, and the feedback we get is really positive.”
She qualified as a midwife in 2012, having trained at the University of Greenwich and QEH.
She then worked in Australia for a few months. “That was a great experience, but I missed South-east London and had to come back,” she said. “I was born and brought up in the area, so QEH feels like home to me.”
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust is hoping anyone with a vague interest will come along to find out about job opportunities for registered nurses, healthcare assistants, operating department practitioners and apprentices.
The trust has vacancies in all areas of the hospital, including theatres, maternity, community and medical wards, with flexible shift patterns and opportunities to progress.
There will also be information on training programmes and the new nursing associate role.
The recruitment team will be holding interviews on the day, so register your interest in advance at email@example.com specifying which day you’ll be attending. Bring along ID such as a passport or driving licence.