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Living the dream in the Central West

Friday 24 July 2020

Central West Hospital and Health Service registered midwife Natalie Parrish says she is living the dream.

Mrs Parrish completed her midwifery degree with James Cook University in July last year and then started her midwifery graduate year with the Central West Health maternity service.

With her graduate year coming to an end in August, she will continue working with Central West Health as a qualified midwife.

“I have been wanting to be a midwife for many years, and knew it would be my dream job,’’ Mrs Parrish said.

“I was just waiting for the right time and opportunity and I wanted to be a competent registered nurse before undertaking further study.

“Central West Health provided me with the opportunity to study to become a midwife, while working in Longreach as a registered nurse, and I am forever grateful.’’

“When I finished my midwifery studies last year, Central West Health then offered me a graduate position and I jumped on it. I didn't want to leave the wonderful life my family and I have made here over the past few years.

“I love Longreach – the town, the people and the sense of community.

“I thoroughly enjoy working in a small community, where I get to know the women I am caring for and being able to provide continuity of care throughout their antenatal, birth and postnatal periods.

“It’s such an honour to be with people during one of the most life-changing moments of their lives and I would do it every day for free. My job satisfaction is 100 per cent.’’

Mrs Parrish also does midwifery outreach work to Isisford.

“I work closely with the staff there and I really enjoy the days I get to do home visits to the outlying properties,’’ she said.

One of Ms Parrish’s outreach clients is Prue Fargher, who lives on Wakefield Station, near Isisford.

She was Ms Fargher’s midwife before, during and after the birth of second child Penelope (Penny) Kate on 29 June.

Ms Parrish also was involved in Ms Fargher’s antenatal care for her first child Tilly Annabel, now 16 months old, who was born in Katherine in the Northern Territory after a temporary family move there.

“The care and support I received from Nat both during my antenatal and postnatal periods was incredible,’’ Ms Fargher said.

“Her kind and compassionate nature at a vulnerable time in my life was comforting. Our appointments felt more like catching up with a friend

“During my antenatal period, what I loved about Nat was that she listened, doesn’t pass judgement; she was never pushy with opinions or her point of view as a midwife.

“Instead, Nat really listened to me about the challenges of the lifestyle we lead on the property and, instead of giving me a list of do’s and don’ts, she offered suggestions on how to do things better and how to better look after myself without feeling like I was completely useless and housebound.

“It’s very hard telling a determined girl from the bush to start slowing down after 30 weeks into her pregnancy, but Nat knew exactly what to say and do.

“In fact, and pardon the pun, I’m finding it hard now during my postnatal period to ‘cut the cord’ so to speak.

“My experience birthing in Longreach was faultless.

“From the accommodation provided at the rear of the hospital whilst I waited for Penny to arrive, to the procedure, the doctors, the support staff and the whole maternity ward and staff.

“Thank you is just not enough. But thank you so much Nat and the team at the Longreach Hospital.’’

Originally from the Sunshine Coast, Mrs Parrish and her family moved to Longreach in 2016, where she worked as a registered nurse at Longreach Hospital in the emergency and general wards while studying to become a midwife.

She has been a registered nurse for 10 years, with a background in paediatrics, and previously worked at the old Royal Children’s Hospital in Herston and at the now Queensland Children’s Hospital at South Bank.

“But midwifery is where my heart has always been and know, I have it all,’’ Mrs Parrish said.

“In Longreach and the Central West, I have a wide range of clinical exposure and I have learnt to be always prepared for the unknown.

“I have cared for high-risk women and babies that have become unwell unexpectedly. You really have to use your clinical assessment skills.

“Our Maternal and Child Health Manager here in Longreach, Deirdre Murphy, says: ‘always look at what the next 15 minutes is going to be like',

“That’s advice I always remember.

“I have had so many challenging situations this year, all which have made me a better clinician.

“I feel like I have had an excellent start to my career by working at the Longreach Hospital, and I am forever learning each day.

“I always think how lucky I am to have such a wonderful job as a midwife here in the Central West.’’

Central West Health Maternal and Child Health Manager Deirdre Murphy said Mrs Parrish was an example of the quality of nurses and midwives being drawn to the region.

“Our health service increasingly is being regarded as a very attractive area for nurses and midwives to launch, or to further progress, their careers and we are happy to welcome them,’’ Ms Murphy said.

“Our nurses and midwives will have experiences and challenges here in the Central West to which they might not otherwise be exposed in larger hospital settings and which all contribute to making them better and more capable clinicians.’’

Ms Murphy said the Central West maternity service operated as a Midwifery Group Practice, where each woman was assigned a known midwife who would provide most of her care pre, during and post-birth.

Women also have the option of shared care with their regular GP.

Ms Murphy said about 70 births a year occurred in the Central West and the health service was keen to ensure every single one was a happy and healthy event for all concerned.


Central West Health Registered Midwife Natalie Parrish – left – with one of her clients, Isisford resident Prue Fargher and her newest baby Penny and elder daughter Tilly, during a catch-up postnatal visit at Isisford Primary Health Centre.


For further information contact:

James Guthrie
Principal Media Officer, Rural and Remote Qld
Media and Communication
Department of Health
(07) 3708 5379

Last updated: 30 July 2020