Working life: Yvonne Young, midwife ultrasonographer, Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise

A day in the working life of midwife ultrasonographer Yvonne Young.

6am: I go for a quick run, then shower, before breakfast. My husband David sorts out the two boys, Eamon, seven, and Ciaran, six. I head to work while he gets them to school. He has a bit more flexibility in the mornings because he’s a farmer.

8am: My first patient arrives with her partner. I’m delighted to be the first midwife at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise to deliver our new anatomy scanning service. It’s a detailed ultrasound carried out at circa 20 weeks to see if the baby is developing normally. The main objective is to try and identify any anomalies that might endanger the baby or make delivery challenging. Having this information in advance is very important for the sake of the baby, the parents, and hospital staff.

9am: My second appointment starts. I conduct 10 anatomy scans per day and each takes about 30 minutes. I did special training for this role, travelling to the Coombe in Dublin three days a week for two years. Currently, I’m up and down to UCD four times a month to complete a Masters in ultrasound.

10am: I get good feedback from my next mum-to-be. We are one of the first of the smaller maternity units in Ireland to offer this service. Prior to its introduction, women had to seek an anatomy scan privately, and could access the scan at the Coombe.

11am: I send the next couple for a cup of tea because I can’t get a good view of the baby’s heart. I’m hoping the baby will wake when the mother drinks the tea and will have changed position by the time they come back. If I do spot anything abnormal, I refer to the woman’s consultant obstetrician at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise who will discuss the appropriate management with the woman.

12.30pm: I have lunch in the hospital canteen.

1pm: I devote time to scheduling anatomy scans. I work out the women’s appointments based on dates supplied to me by the consultants. I have clerical support for this aspect of my job. The remainder of the afternoon is spent conducting more scans.

4.30pm: I pick up the boys from the creche on the 20-minute drive home. Then its homework and dinner. Once they are in bed, I get down to college work.


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