Midwife with a lot of love for Oldham
After working as an Air Stewardess for a year, Catherine Hegarty’s positive experiences of the birth of her first daughter led to an exciting change of career. Following a Health & Social Care access course Catherine commenced her direct entry Midwifery Degree at Salford University in 2002 and qualified in 2005.
Catherine’s placements were all at The Royal Oldham Hospital and her really enjoyable time during those placements meant that there was no contest when it came to applying for roles as a newly qualified Midwife. Catherine explains, “I didn’t apply anywhere else as I loved it so much at Oldham and I wanted to stay where I trained. The mentorship was very good and I had really supportive mentors who ensure that I reached each competency along the way. Everyone made me feel really welcome and the culture of the unit was really friendly, supportive and non-hierarchical.”
On her career development after qualifying Catherine is enthusiastic about the support and encouragement she received, “I was encouraged to undertake professional development and took courses in mentorship, KSF assessing and critical care for maternity. This enabled me to progress to be a Core Labour Ward Midwife then achieve a Band 6 within a year. Following that I got involved with facilitating training and supporting students, even training as a trainer to bring in-house an Obstetric Emergency course as mandatory training. I really enjoyed helping others to learn and to see them progress in their careers.”
Following a house move to Cheshire in 2014 Catherine found the long commute to Oldham a challenge. She explains “I was really sad to leave Pennine and it was a really hard decision as I didn’t want to leave, but it was far more practical having landed a job at a hospital just 10 minutes away from home.” Although the easy commute was a real benefit, after a while Catherine found herself not as happy or fulfilled as she had been on the varied and diverse unit at Oldham so she started to look at other career options.
Catherine’s new employer funded a 12 month health visiting qualification, which resulted in her gaining a master’s degree in Specialist Community Health Public Nursing. During the course Catherine worked bank shifts at Oldham to keep up her registration. Speaking fondly of her former employer Catherine says, “Being back at Oldham made me realise how much I missed being there. It was suddenly clear that it wasn’t a new career that I needed; I needed to go back to Oldham! So I applied for one of the Band 6 Midwife vacancies and was thrilled to be successful at interview, starting back at Oldham in September 2016. Within a week of being back at Pennine a dream opportunity arose and I achieved a promotion to become a Band 7 Maternity Practice Based Educator.”
On being back in Maternity at Oldham Catherine’s enthusiasm shines through, “I absolutely love it here. It’s such a supportive and friendly environment and everyone works together really well. There’s equality within the team and everyone’s input is valued, whatever their role. I may be back to the daily commute of at least an hour each way, but I can honestly say it’s worth it to be happy in my work again.”