TWELVE midwives from the South Pacific are visiting Canberra for two weeks for leadership training, says vocational training team chair Beth Woolley who has organised the program through Rotary.
There are four midwives from each of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji – visiting until October 31.
Beth says that the Rotary-funded project “Leadership Development for Midwives of South Pacific Countries” is based on needs identified through discussions with peak bodies responsible for the development of midwives and nurses in South Pacific countries.
“In the Pacific, midwives are perceived as not being leaders on any level, yet leadership capability affects how health services are delivered,” she says.
“We want to encourage, nurture and build on their skills and confidence when acting as a midwife to a birthing mother, as well as their role as a leader throughout the whole organisation.”
Beth says that the program, specially designed by the University of Canberra and the Australian College of Midwives, will include leadership development workshops and lectures, as well as meeting with leaders within health-related organisations and government agencies, including the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children in Woden, the QE2 Family Centre and Calvary Hospital in Bruce.
Local members of the ACT branch of the ACM are providing one-on-one volunteer mentors, says Beth.
“The midwives will develop a personal plan for growth and experience the opportunity to work with a personal mentor to improve their growth as a midwifery leader,” she says.
“We want to develop the skills of leadership to help Pacific midwives lead and engage on all levels, and ultimately benefit birthing women and their babies.
“It’s about encouraging the midwives with what they have, boosting their morale and their understanding of the role.”
Beth says the visit will include a sightseeing trip around Canberra and a weekend in Jindabyne to make a presentation at the Annual Rotary District 9710 conference.
“The plan is to provide further leadership programs over the next two years to at least another 24 midwives from other South Pacific countries,” she says.