Fiona Rochelle – Specialist midwife for young parents
Fiona (48) originally from Coventry, settled in West Bromwich when she came to Sandwell to start nurse training in January 1986. Fiona qualified as a general nurse in 1989 and has remained at the Trust and within the NHS for nearly thirty years.
Speaking about why she chose nursing, Fiona said: “When I was young, I always wanted to become a nurse or midwife and wanted to join a caring profession. During my general training I was fortunate to have placements on Maternity, I realised this is where my heart lay and that I really wanted to be a midwife.”
Fiona has been a midwife for almost 24 years and has spent the last 8 years as a specialist midwife working with young parents aged 19 and under. Her role involves working with young mothers and empowering them to make decisions about their health and the health of their baby’s but also helping them gain confidence in their ability to parent.
Talking about her time in training, Fiona recounted: “It was very different back then. I didn’t attend university, the training was through the school of nursing which was attached to the hospital. The majority of student nurses lived in the nurses home and we lived, studied and worked at the hospital. Now, student nurses apply to universities and have placements at trusts within the area.”
“I have fond memories of my training days. As students on elderly care, we were able to sit down talk and listen to patients life story, I was taught to knit by a patient who continued to keep in touch after discharge. I always enjoyed those times bonding with patients and went home feeling I had made a little difference to their hospital stay.”
Looking back on her journey with the NHS, Fiona said: “When I reflect back on the maternity service, this has improved compared with when I first started. Now, we have two midwifery led units. More specialist roles and clinics to provide individualised package of support to mothers.
“When I trained and as a junior midwife mothers spent longer periods in hospital. Some women spent weeks prior to birth in hospital with various complications. This is managed very differently now, with women encouraged to birth naturally which is better for mum and baby.
“Although there have been many changes, the main principles stay the same. We always provide the best care to our patients. All care delivered is patient-centred.
“I always feel grateful towards the support that the NHS has given me. I received fantastic training and education in both my general and midwifery training. I have recently been awarded a Bachelor at Science in Adult Mental Health and I am now working towards a Masters degree”
On the occasion of the NHS turning 67, Fiona adds: “Happy birthday NHS! Thank you for continuing to support me through my career pathway to where I am today. I am proud of my achievements and I hope to be able to continue to make a difference.”