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Working as a midwife: Career choice, studies and place of work

June 22, 2023

reading time

5 min

As midwives, they practise a profession that is both professionally and personally demanding. Natalia Landolf introduces the midwifery profession and explains what makes her job and her place of work so special.

A brief introduction to the midwifery profession

First, you complete a four-year Bachelor's degree programme, for example at the ZHAW in Winterthur. The midwifery profession is very diverse and can be practised in many different areas. Midwives work in hospitals, birth centres, with women and their families at home, in midwifery practices, in breastfeeding counselling and in various other advice centres.

We accompany women from the beginning of their pregnancy, carry out pregnancy checks, accompany women who have lost a child and give antenatal classes. We look after expectant mothers before and during labour and also during and/or after the postnatal period. Midwives are responsible for mother and child and work very independently. We can also obtain various additional qualifications such as acupuncture and homeopathy, breastfeeding counselling, baby massage and manual therapy. With additional further training and/or a Master's degree, there are opportunities in training, teaching or research.

Why I became a midwife

I have always been interested in medicine. After secondary technical school, I initially enrolled for a nursing degree at the University of Applied Sciences in St. Gallen. Fortunately, I completed a six-month nursing internship in internal medicine at St. Gallen Cantonal Hospital before starting my studies, where I cared for many sick elderly people. I quickly realised that I wanted to work at the "beginning of life". That's how I came to be a midwife. I wanted to work with "healthy patients" and deepen my knowledge of gynaecology. During my nursing internship, I attended the information event for the Bachelor's degree programme in Midwifery at the ZHAW in Winterthur. Immediately afterwards, I applied for the entrance exam and was delighted to be accepted.

Why I love my job

Every day is different here. You never know what to expect before a service. That's what makes the midwifery profession so exciting for me and I never get bored. I love working with different cultures and getting to know different couples. As a midwife, I accompany women during what is probably the most intense moment of their lives. At the same time, I am their psychologist, masseuse, listener, motivator and, unfortunately, sometimes also a grief counsellor. Not every birth goes smoothly. The line between joy and despair is sometimes very thin.

It is the most beautiful and at the same time probably the most demanding work. I often put my own needs on the back burner, because the mother and the baby take priority. The emotions that come up during a birth are indescribable. Accompanying the women during the birth, seeing their strength and vigour, being on tenterhooks with them and then looking into the faces of the happy parents holding their baby in their arms - nothing else compares to these feelings. Even if, after many years as a midwife, not every birth is as exciting, in the end it's the positive emotions that make you happy. You go home with the knowledge that you have done something good - for others and for yourself.

My reasons for working at Zollikerberg Hospital

In my final year of training as a midwife, I was assigned to a six-month internship in the building department of Zollikerberg Hospital. I arrived as a shy midwifery student and immediately felt at home. I had never experienced such a great internship anywhere else, and I immediately realised that I belonged here.

I completed my training as a qualified midwife in October 2014 and immediately got a job in the building department at Zollikerberg Hospital. I have now been working at Zollikerberg Hospital for almost nine years with a high workload. During these years, I have experienced many changes, ups and downs as well as changes in the team and in management positions. Despite the enormous size of the Zollikerberg Hospital Women's Clinic, everything here feels very familiar. We stick together and support each other. As midwives, we can work very independently here and are listened to and taken seriously, especially by our Head of Midwifery Catherine Thomann, the Head of the Obstetrics Department.

How to strike a balance between work and leisure time

It helps me a lot to meet friends and talk about my experiences. As I'm on my feet a lot at work, I don't need much of a sporting balance. I also enjoy taking time out on my roof terrace and often go to the spa.

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