Regular dips in the bracing waters of the Serpentine help keep Ann O’Reilly’s head above water in her day job as a senior midwife.
“It’s a demanding job but also very satisfying,” says Ann who still finds the energy to compete in triathlons, despite working in a maternity unit that helps deliver around 4,000 babies a year.
Ann, who was born at Central Middlesex Hospital, is one of the unit’s longest serving midwives having worked in the unit for nearly four decades.
She started her nursing career in intensive care but wanted to do something more holistic and trained as a midwife.
“It is a great privilege to be present at what is the single most important moment in most people’s lives.”
It is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Maternity offers a 24/7 service with Ann recalling one of her busiest times assisting in the birth of two sets of triplets and twins in a single day.
“It is a full-on job and you have to be good at multi-tasking whether that is looking after mum and baby, liaising with relatives, ensuring appropriate tests have been done or arranging for translators as we care for the largest number of non-English speaking women in the capital.
“One of our biggest challenges is attracting new midwives into the profession because the babies keep coming regardless.”
Nowadays, Ann is part of the Quality and Governance Team but still enjoys her contact with women and families in the clinical area
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride but the unit is in a far better place than it was two years ago as part of our ongoing Maternity Improvement Plan. Everyone should be proud of achieving that.”