The Last BMids in WA
By Jaime Thomas, Midwife, graduating student from Curtin University
We arrived with family and friends and the photography ritual was already in full swing. We found our seats among a sea of black regalia and were welcomed to our graduation ceremony. The commencement address was made by Elizabeth Gaines, CEO of Fortescue Metals. She provided insight into her successful career and urged us to take every opportunity in the coming years – ‘to say yes more times than we ever say no’. Row by row, we were directed to the side of the stage and with a name call, don of the cap and handshake, all twenty-three undergraduate midwifery students became fully fledged midwives. We represent the final cohort of direct-entry midwives to graduate in Western Australia.
The Bachelor of Science (Midwifery) course, or ‘BMid’ for short, has prepared over 250 individuals for the midwifery profession since its first intake in 2008. Like my peers, over the past three years, I have studied in low-risk models such as the Community Midwifery Program, as well as in public and private hospitals across WA and have even had the opportunity to go overseas to Tanzania. We have gained an excellent foundation in midwifery theory and practice and have grown immensely both personally and professionally.
The BMid course is deeply entrenched in woman-centred philosophy and produces midwives that are above all else with woman. The BMid’s that have come before me have demonstrated this fact, and I hope that I too can live up to the powerful precedent that has been set by my BMid-trained predecessors.
It was bittersweet to graduate as the final BMid cohort. Despite it coming to an end, I felt a great sense of gratitude for the BMid course and the role it has played in preparing us for this new beginning.
On behalf of the final BMid cohort, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to those who played a role in the inception of the direct-entry course - Jennifer Wood and Janice Butt - you provided myself and so many others with the opportunity to study and work in a wonderful profession. While incredibly rewarding, midwifery study is not without challenge. Without the support of our family and friends, our successful graduation would not have been possible, so we thank you. Finally, I would like to give special thanks to Lesley Kuliukas for her dedication, advocacy and support in coordinating the BMid groups over the last years. Without her unwavering commitment we would not be where we are now.
The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) is the peak professional body for midwives in Australia who are registered with, and regulated by, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). ACM’s position is that women have access to midwifery care during pregnancy, birth and postnatally. We exist to ensure midwives are strong and confident practitioners who can work to their full scope of practice.