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Celebrating a commitment to lifelong learning

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Celebrating a commitment to lifelong learning

Meet Dr Margie McCormick, a proud lifelong learner.  

Margie is the Midwifery Educator for Women's and Children's Service at Sunshine Hospital and she began her career as a midwife at Western Health three decades ago.  

"Healthcare always appealed to me as a profession," Margie said.  

"I studied nursing first, but soon realised that I wanted to do midwifery, as I felt I wanted to work within a wellness model of health care," Margie said.  

"I had a strong passion for providing care to women who had low-risk pregnancies who wanted to birth with minimal interventions."  

After a decade in clinical care, Margie began in her current role as a Midwifery Educator, where she teaches and trains staff in all areas of maternity care, from obstetric emergencies to breastfeeding and to more recently developing online teaching programs for the Women's and Children's Services. 

"People often ask me why I have stayed at Western Health for so long and it's because I love working with women in our culturally diverse community.   

"I love hearing their stories, some of the women have come from war-torn countries or face great social disadvantages and adversities in their life, and I enjoy providing care that feels safe to them."  

One of the ways that Margie has ensured that she can achieve this goal of providing the best possible care to staff, whether it's as a midwife or as an educator, is by continuing to expand her own expertise and understanding. 

"When I started in the education role, I wanted to improve my teaching knowledge, so I embarked on a Master of Professional Education and Training, and I did part of that through research and that really whetted my appetite for doing a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) at the University of Melbourne."  

 On July 31st , Margie officially became a Doctor of Philosophy an incredible effort that took eight years.  

 "During these eight years I had to work part-time and study part-time, which was challenging."  

"It was particularly hard to work during the day and then switch my brain over to study mode in the evening."  

Margie's PhD focused on women's safety during labour and involved interviewing women from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds about their experiences giving birth at Western Health.   

She also sought to obtain the organisation's view of safety by interviewing key internal and external stakeholders. 

"I really tried to capture what it meant for women to feel safe during labour, so that means being physically, culturally, spiritually emotionally and psychologically safe.  

"For instance, for one woman it was about her belief in God and being able to pray during labour and her spiritual safety was paramount, whereas another woman wanted to know that she was being cared for by highly trained staff, so it was around her physical safety." 

Margie said she was extremely proud to have completed her PhD, particularly during a pandemic, but that it would not have been possible without the support of her workplace.  

"I'm just proud that I persisted because there were many times that I felt like stopping, but I didn't, and it was an amazing achievement.  

She said that supporting staff to be lifelong learners was a win-win for workplaces because it helped to retain and develop their existing staff and was also an investment in the future of healthcare delivery. 

"I really couldn't have achieved this without the support of my workplace both at an organisational level, but also at a local level from my direct managers and colleagues- their encouragement was pivotal. 

"Now it's completed, my next big step is that I want to take the findings of my study and implement some of the recommendations to improve the way we provide care to women during their labour and birth. 

 You can read Margie's PhD research here: