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The Region Tonight "Evening Standard" (Now Manawatu Standard) (11/06/85)

Strides made in training
At the turn of the century, too many women were dying from infection after childbirth.

A Commission of Inquiry went into action and recommended better training for midwives. Since then their status and. training has progresed in leaps and bounds.

In fact they have gone from the untrained and incompetent handywomen of the 1800s, to the dynamic and highly specialist nurses of the 1980s.

Midwives today elect a specialist option within the advanced nursing diploma offered at technical institutes. Applicants for this year-long course must be either registered comprehensive or general and obstetric nurses with at least two years post-basic training. At least six months of this experience must be in maternity nursing.

Unlike students in other options, midwifery students must meet certain standards including clinical and theoretical competence to be eligible for the state registration exam.

Training through technical institutes has been going for five years now and is still undergoing evaluation and modification. Previously midwives registered through a six month hospital-based programme.

This was ousted by technical institute training to cope with increased complexity and technological progress in maternal and child health care.

As a result, a reduction ta the number of trained midwives has been noticed. Between 1975 and 1979, the number of graduates dropped by 42, to 120. And since 1980 only 99 have registered as midwives through technical institutes.

There now seems to be a shortage throughout the country with many hospitals, including Palmerston North, advertising for midwives overseas.

A person who successfully completes the programme is expected to:

  • Supervise, care for and advise women through pregnancy, labour and after birth.
  • Conduct deliveries on her own.
  • Initiate care of the newborn.
  • Detect abnormal conditions in the mother and child and obtain medical help.
  • Initiate emergency messures.
  • Meet the emotional, psychological and cultural needs of the mother and her family.
  • Provide education and counselling in maternal and child health.
  • Function effectively where midwifery skills and knowledge are needed.
  • Function within the relevant health legislation and guidelines.

Task force mooted to tackle nursing shortage
NZ Press Association

WELLINGTON. — New Zealand public hospitals are short of between 1400 and 1600 nurses, a meeting of chief nurses from the 29 hospital boards learnt yesterday.

The Wellington meeting was organised by the Health Department to work out ways to tackle the shortages, which are causing serious problems to health services.

As a consequence the Hospital Boards Association and the department are likely to form a task force which will co-ordinate nationally overseas recruitment of much-needed staff.

Wellington Hospital Board chief nurse Barbara Shadbolt, who attended the meeting, said a third of the hospital boards were already advertising overseas for staff, and it was felt there needed to be more co-ordination of the process.

The association-departmental group would probably do the preliminary vetting of job applications and arrange immigration documentation and Nursing Council registration, but the individual boards would retain the right to pick the nurses they wanted.

Mrs Shadholt said chief nurses felt the shortages had been mainly caused by great difficulty in attracting staff to replace those who left through normal staff turnover, rather than by a massive increase in the number of resignations.

There were several reasons for this: There appeared to be insufficient new nurses graduating, from technical institutes, the increasing workload (particularly in larger hospitals) caused by the shortages was making the job less attractive, and many people were not keen on working the shifts required.

Nursing groups blame poor pay rates on the shortages, and Health Minister Dr Michael Bassett has promised the recruitment problem will be taken into account when the nurses' next pay round starts next month.

A friend:

Only a friend could have comforted me,
And seen my troubles through,
Only a friend could have understood -
Only a friend like you.

Only a friend would have troubled
When I was hurt and sad,
Only a friend would have taken the time
To try to make me glad

Only a friend would have come to me
When I was sick, and in pain,
Only a friend would have tried so hard
To help me get well again

Thank you for being such a friend,
Thank you for all you still do,
I can only repay you by trying hard,
To be such a friend, to you.

(From one Margaret Palmer)


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Foxton Maternity Home 1942-1982 Page 58


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