Liam Jackson MACN — a Stage Five Australian College of Nursing Emerging Nurse Leader (ENL) — is part of the 1.44% of midwives in Australia who identify as male (NMBA,2020). With International Day of the Midwife (IMD) approaching on 5 May, we caught up with Liam to discuss his journey to becoming a midwife and his passion for making a difference to the lives of families across Australia.
ACN would like to wish all midwives a very happy IMD for Wednesday!
How did you become a midwife?
I completed a Bachelor of Nursing in 2016 and went on to be a children’s nurse. I really enjoyed looking after the families, not just the child but the whole dynamic of family-centred care.
Initially, I pursued midwifery to further my understandings as a neonatal nurse. I also wanted to be part of people’s health journeys from the start rather than just through sickness.
There are many ways to become a midwife such as completing a Bachelor of Midwifery. However, I took the postgraduate pathway and completed my Bachelor of Nursing and practiced before applying for a postgraduate diploma in midwifery through the University of Western Sydney.
Throughout my course I worked four days a week as a paid Registered Nurse which counted as my placement hours, meaning I was to study full time and be a midwife but still earn an income.
On top of our study and placement hours, to become a midwife you also have to do 10 continuity of care experiences. This involves looking after the women throughout the duration of their pregnancy journey, being present at the birth and seeing them postnatally.
What it is like being a man in midwifery?
Originally, I was cautious when I decided to become a midwife and wondered how I would be accepted. Before I started studying, I personally didn’t know any male midwives and neither did any of my colleagues. I learned that many of them (men) had steered away from midwifery and gone down paths such as retrieval, working for the Royal Flying Doctors Service or pursuing rural and remote nursing and/or midwifery. There weren’t many men who had stayed working as midwives.
When I started studying to become a midwife I was met with openness and a lot of people were really happy that more males were getting into the profession. There is still that initial shock or surprise factor when you are working around the postnatal ward and you pop into the room to answer a buzzer and they think you are a doctor or someone else (anyone else but the midwife).
However, after people got to know me and saw me working with the women on the floor and in the birth suite and saw how I dealt with and empowered women they realised I was doing it for all the right reasons.
It is important to know that, regardless of your gender, you have the capability and capacity to care and show love and attentiveness. At my workplace, there are three other male midwives and they are all passionate about caring for the woman and families throughout their journey.
What advice would you give to those thinking about a career in midwifery?
All the hard work, determination and studying will pay off when you are able to provide care to a woman throughout her pregnancy and labour. There is no better feeling than watching a first-time mum transform throughout her journey and gain new confidence, understanding and skills. You then get to send her off home happy and ready to take on the journey of parenthood!
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia Registrant Data Reporting period: 1 October to 31 December 2020.