Midwives deliver change from old to new

Midwives deliver change from old to new

When Mater Mothers’ Hospitals transferred from the original building to its existing site 10 years ago, staff, patients and visitors faced enormous change.

Sue Cramer, Sue Sedl and Dr Mike Beckmann recall their memories during the transition from old to new.

Mater midwife Sue Cramer remembers carrying a map around with her for months.

“While we knew the new facilities were world-class, it took us time to find our way around. We were all like people on their first day of work in a new place!” Sue said.

“Remember this wasn’t just an extra ward, this was a whole new building! We needed to learn how to get to theatre, where the medication rooms were, where the emergency buttons were located.

“These days we’ve got fantastic transitioning programs in place thanks to Mater Education but at the time we fumbled our way through,” she said.

Despite occasional moments of confusion, the care mothers received did not change.

“Our patients and their families were incredibly patient,” Sue said.

“Continuing their care was our top priority”.

Mater Mothers’ Private Brisbane Midwifery Unit Manager Sue Sedl agrees with Sue’s reflection.

“So much planning went on prior to the move and then on the day we were hoping we would have low numbers but in actual fact that wasn’t the case, it was a busy day and we were almost at full capacity so had lots of patients to move!” Sue said.

“I was Midwifery Unit Manager on 7th floor in the original building, one of two private post-natal wards which was a 39 bed unit.

“On moving day we were in here about 4.30 am for  a final meeting before we started. We had organised for staff to be on each floor coordinating who would go next, as well as someone in the new building to receive them,” she said.

 “The whole day went really well – it was challenging at the beginning but it went really smoothly,” Sue said.

“From memory I believe we had every single mother and baby over to our new hospital by around 2.30 pm – we didn’t think it would be that soon but it turned out really well on the day,” she said.

Some patients were quite mobile and were transported across the walkway in wheelchairs and some by internal ambulance while birth suites were operating in two places for a time.

Sue described the building as looking lovely and new with lots of natural light.

“The whole area just felt so much calmer and quieter. In the old hospital we had lino floors so anytime day or night you were moving cots up and down the corridor, it sounded like a truck going through!” she said.

The new quiet call bell system was different in the new building.

“In the old hospital you’d be hearing ‘ding dong’ all day long and was quite audible but in the new building we moved to the paging system which was a vibration rather than a sound – initially it was just so quiet! Even on days when you felt it was out of control it was calm, and to this day it still is,” she said.

Despite the lovely new surroundings, Sue recalls some of the issues facing the staff.

“Despite trying to make sure everything was in the same place in the inpatient area and storerooms for example, there were some teething problems,” Sue said.

“I was amazed how much this impacted the staff – especially from the private ward, where my staff had gone from a 39 bed ward to a 28 bed ward.

“There was a sense that we were understaffed or that we didn’t have as many staff from the old building to the new, in terms of a patient nurse ratio, but with long corridors and single rooms we actually had better ratios than we’d had before,” she said.

“The building has served us really well over the past 10 years and it still looks new. The style has kept a fresh and modern feel. Our patients love the views: into the gardens of Aubigny and out towards Tennyson, East to the Gabba or over the beautiful city lights at night.”

Mothers, Babies and Women’s Health Services medical director Dr Mike Beckmann recalls working in birth suites in the new hospital for the first time.

“Every room was so big and bright, and had its own stock in the room. The paediatricians could also attend to newborn babies in the room, rather than baby having to go outside to a cot if they needed help breathing.”

Dr Beckmann said Mater Mothers’ Hospitals remains a fantastic clinical place to work, especially when caring for complex mothers and their babies. 

“There are dedicated high risk rooms with a mini-intensive care between the rooms, we have direct access to two operating theatres 24/7 and central monitoring of all babies. 

“Mater Mothers has cutting-edge artificial intelligence to assist in interpreting fetal heart rate recordings, helping to make Mater one of the safest hospitals in the world to have a baby.”

Over the past 10 years Mater Mothers has welcomed 96 719 babies and is well on its way to 10 000 births in 2018. We look forward to the next 10 years!




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