Tania Nicholson, inpatients nurse unit manager at Kilmore District Health, KDH, is the recipient of the 2022 Dr Sarwat Shenouda Midwife Award.
As part of celebrating the extraordinary work of midwives on International Day of the Midwife annually on May 5, KDH has formed the tradition of honouring outstanding contributions by a midwife as nominated by their peers and selected by the hospital’s executive team.
Ms Nicholson was nominated for: “going above and beyond to support the midwives in her team to care for women in [the] community. From working on the floor, staying late and going on call when needed especially during a time that has been challenging for the maternity team.”
The submission added: “She has been an advocate for our midwives and women birthing. Her role is not an easy one, but she is appreciated and respected for all her efforts.”
Ms Nicholson said she prided herself in providing excellent care and woman-centric leadership and drew on her own personal experiences to the role.
“[I bring] empathy, compassion, professionalism, calmness and life experience [to the role]. I am a registered nurse and a midwife with neonatal care and maternity emergency response training,” she said
“As a mother, I experienced breastfeeding issues and the emotions that ‘failure’ brings. This took me along a path of further learning, and I became a lactation consultant to support women just like me.
“I pride myself in providing excellent care, process driven and women-centric leadership, with a strong quality aspect, however, I am just the traffic director as the KDH team of midwives do all the work. They are exceptional in their care, scope and professionalism.”
Ms Nicholson said midwifery would always be needed, and support required by pregnant women was ever-growing due to medical conditions and pregnancy complications.
“There will always be babies coming into this world, and people leaving; this profession will always be needed,” she said.
“But our community is becoming more complex with medical conditions and pregnancy complications. The midwife’s role has always been to work with women to educate, support and achieve birthing goals.
“Birth is a celebration, gathering with your closest to welcome your baby into the world. This was not possible during COVID-19, and our midwives became the support person, the confidante, primary carer and counsellor, just to name a few.
“We are privileged that women allow us to fulfill these role. After every birth I drive home thinking how lucky I am to have been a part of that family’s ‘new beginnings,’ witnessing their child entering the world.”
The Dr Sarwat Shenouda Midwife Award honours Dr Sarwat Shenouda, who was the cornerstone of KDH’s obstetric service for more than 20 years.
He was highly regarded by peers and the community before he died in 2019.