When asked what he loves about being a midwife, the answer comes easily to Paul Sandilands.
“You’re helping people create a family.”
A midwife for more than 35 years, he is one of only four male midwives in the Hunter New England Local Health District and currently works at Manning Hospital.
This Saturday, May 5, midwives around the world will be celebrated as part of International Day of the Midwife, which has the theme, Midwives leading the way with quality care.
That care is paramount when it comes to the role.
“We help women have babies and we help people look after babies,” Paul said.
“When someone is in labour you need someone you can trust to look after you and you need to develop that bond in a short space of time.
“It’s about respecting what they want and safeguarding the mother and baby because the goal is a happy and healthy mum and baby.”
Paul said it was important to be flexible, depending on what was happening at the time.
He is part of a strong team of committed midwives passionate about the role they play in the lives of their community.
His colleagues describe him as “passionate”, “dedicated” and “outright hilarious” and Paul believes humour is the key to the strong rapport he builds with his patients.
That rapport leads to long lasting bonds, with Paul having the privilege of maintaining contact with families he has worked with. He is also now birthing babies out of women he delivered.
Paul started off training as a registered nurse at Manning Hospital.
He was the second male midwife to train at Manly Hospital and in 1982 was the first registered male midwife employed at the same hospital.
He believes acceptance as a midwife is not so much about gender, but more about gaining the trust and confidence of the women.
“I’ve been doing nursing and midwifery for a very long time and I have the distinct pleasure of doing a job I love. It’s magic.”
Also coming up is International Nurses Day on May 12.
To celebrate, Hunter New England Health is calling on people to ‘shout out’ on the HNE Health Facebook page to a nurse or midwife who has gone above and beyond.
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