Joondalup Health Campus
Part of Ramsay Health Care


International day honours the midwives

Apr 29, 2016

Joondalup Health Campus (JHC) is marking International Day of the Midwife next Friday May 5 by paying tribute to one of its longest serving midwives—and soon to be septuagenarian—Dorothy Trueland.

Celebrated since 1991, and observed in over 50 nations, International Midwives Day acknowledges and honours the important role midwives play in communities around the world.

Born in Scotland and raised in former Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) Ms Trueland of Currambine started work as a general nurse at the 85-bed Wanneroo Hospital (now JHC) in 1982 which she says back then was akin to a country hospital.

In 1985 Dorothy qualified as a registered midwife and later in 1990, as a clinical midwife. Her career has seen her bring thousands of babies into the world – including her own grandchildren at whose births she was either present or played an active role.

“Midwifery is not for everyone but I was really drawn to it,” she said. “I was inspired by my maternal grandmother, a home birth midwife in Scotland. I liked my time as a general nurse but midwifery has been my life and I still enjoy it to this day,” she said.

Now approaching her 70th year and still working two days a week, Dorothy says when she started nursing at the affectionately termed ‘old Wanneroo’ she’d arrive in the mornings to find kangaroos eating on the grass, kookaburras singing and laughing in the trees and the occasional emu.

“There weren’t any houses around in those days and one single road (Shenton Road) led to the hospital,” she said.

Apart from physical changes, Dorothy says it’s the vast improvements in procedures and practices that have seen maternity services at JHC go from strength to strength.

“There have been huge advances in the equipment for monitoring labour such as the installation of a Central Cardiotocographic (CTG) Monitoring System in our Birthing Suites which allows staff to monitor multiple labours from a central station” she said. “One of the best changes during my time was the opening of the Special Care Nursery in 1996. It meant that we could care for mothers and babies from 32 weeks instead of babies having to be cared for at King Edward.”

Director of Clinical Services Ben Irish said the 134 midwives employed at JHC were worth their weight in gold.

“The midwives here always go the extra mile,” he said. “In the past year they have delivered more than 4000 babies and in the month of February, the hospital broke yet another local record with 394 babies born across both the public and private maternity wards.”

Mr Irish welcomed the acknowledgement of International Midwives Day saying midwives at JHC performed an outstanding service to the community.