New Chief – What About The Indians?

The commonwealth have appointed a new Chief nursing and midwifery officer:

The appointment of Australia’s first national Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer has been met with the approval of the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF). The ANF says Rosemary Bryant, the head of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia, has held many national and international leadership roles and is an excellent person to represent nurses in commonwealth health policy.

The Health Department says the appointment of a chief nurse recognises the major role played by nurses in Australia’s healthcare system and Ms Bryant’s advice will contribute to policies in the areas of nursing education, training and workforce and primary, acute and aged care.

The ANF says says the appointment of a chief nurse recognises the major role played by nursing in Australia’s healthcare system.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon says Rosemary Bryant’s appointment as chief nurse will give nurses a proper voice in terms of policy direction and one of her first tasks will be to lead a review of maternity services.

The appointment will also give nurses a strong voice within the commonwealth government on nursing workforce issues and also on more general issues facing the health system in which nurses play such a vital part according to Ms Roxon.

Ms Roxon says as the government’s most senior adviser on nursing workforce issues, Rosemary Bryant will help shape policies which will strengthen the nursing profession as a career of choice.

Ms Bryant was previously the director of nursing policy with the Victorian government and the director of nursing at Royal Adelaide Hospital.

This has been met with ANF approval. What about the college of midwives why weren’t they asked for approval? After all she is the chief nursing and midwifery officer. Maybe it’s because unless I’m very much mistaken it appears that Rosemary Bryant isn’t actually a midwife.

How is it that a non midwife can be made chief midwifery officer and how can she possibly shape midwifery policy with absolutely no knowledge of midwifery issues. When is it that the government is going to recognise midwives as a totally separate profession?

Maybe it’s when we have the bottle to stand up and actually complain about being shafted in this way. Apparently when discussing this with the college we shouldn’t make waves because it could make things awkward for us. MORE AWKWARD THAN WHAT? Not being recognised as a profession! Sucking up to get crumbs that are thrown. We want a voice in the working party Nicola Roxon why are you ignoring midwives when you are wanting to reform maternity services?

This is the government’s statement on reform

Labor understands that providing quality care for mothers and newborns is the key to giving children the best start in life and midwives can play a central role in insuring this is provided.

This statement says it all about midwifery involvement. Midwives can play a central role. Surely this should read and midwives play a central role.

The Autumn Council report from RANZCOG also mentions the reforms and how they are in a good position to influence them. WHERE ARE THE MIDWIVES? Why haven’t we got a voice.

I appreciate the work being done by some of the Academics behind closed doors such as Caroline Homer, Sally Tracey and our own Chris Cornwall. Why isn’t it an open door (er, because we may make waves) and secondly why aren’t the college as a whole putting their name behind lobbying for more active involvement instead of trying to tippy toe around. Up to now it’s got us nowhere. This is not just about homebirth or a woman’s right to birth how she chooses, this is about birth full stop. It’s not for the select few midwives and women it’s for all of us. Obstetricians do not carry out the bulk of care at our public hospitals, midwives do. Midwives should have a voice.

I do not say this from the sidelines. I am active in the College and outside. But like every other institution there is not the stand up and be counted now attitude but the we are working hard quietly attitude. It just doesn’t work that way.

One response to “New Chief – What About The Indians?”

  1. posy

    I feel for you. Apparently it was like that in NZ until a strong voice from the women helped midwives gain autonomy and finally, our own midwifery council and with it a voice away from that of nursing. How can nurses understand the midwifery model, and vice-versa? Nurses wouldn’t want midwives making decisions on how they should practice nursing.

    When people ask me if I was a nurse before I became a midwife, I feel like asking them if their GP was a nurse or maybe a physio or paramedic before he or she became a doctor!

    I wish you all the best in your struggle. Maybe if your college is being a bit timid, you can harness the women’s groups to press for recognition of midwifery as a separate profession that needs a voice … for their sake.

    (new grad IM in New Zealand).