Registered Midwife and Clinical Instructor
Midwifery Program, Department of Family Practice
Tell us about your role as a clinical faculty member at UBC:
I am a clinical instructor for the midwifery program at UBC and a practicing midwife in Victoria. Since 2012, I have enjoyed being a preceptor for students in their second to fourth year clinical placements. Students participate in my clinic and follow my on-call work in peoples’ homes and at the hospital.
What have you learned while teaching that has surprised you the most?
Before becoming a midwife, I had no idea how much of our job would be teaching! We spend much of our time helping our clients learn about their bodies, what their options are for their health care and how to navigate the health-care system. We almost always have at least one midwifery student or new registrant midwife in our practice, and they keep us up to date with new research and best practices. It’s a joy to pass on what I know about midwifery, but it’s even better when a student or client teaches me something.
What impact do you hope to have on the students you teach?
I hope to instill a thorough understanding of the importance of true consent and informed choice in perinatal care. People are at their most powerful when they have access to quality information and the opportunity to make choices that are relevant to their values and life experience. I encourage students to take the time to build an environment of respect and safety with our clients, within which the clients can learn and interact with their health care in a meaningful way.
Best advice for students:
Be protective of what inspires you to do this work. I started working as a midwife in my early twenties, and at the time, couldn’t have imagined facing burnout. I wished the pager would ring on my shifts. In more recent years, I’ve faced burnout at times, and have adjusted my work to ensure that when I am helping families, I can give them my best. Pace yourself, find ongoing mentorship after graduation, trust your training and your intuition.
Who inspires you and why?
People who are resilient despite adverse circumstances. Midwives get to be involved in peoples’ lives at such an important time. We witness the very peaks of joy, abundance, sadness, and loss – sometimes in the same day. I am inspired by people who face extraordinary challenges and somehow hang in there. It’s one of the most amazing abilities that humans have. Often midwives witness people transform from someone who doubts themselves and their abilities, to someone who exceeds all expectations of strength and resilience, even if just for a few hours. That’s inspiring to me.
How do you like to recharge?
I love to visit the old-growth forests near Victoria. Having kids has taught me to slow down with them and notice all the details around us – the mushrooms, the moss, the towering ancient trees and more. I also love to knit, accidentally kill plants in my garden, and keep a large flock of backyard chickens.