Success stories

 

Aspiring Lactation Consultants
In 1999 I sat the IBLC Exam with my only preparation being the Lactation Self Study component of the ACE Grad Dip in CBE and a practice run through some exam questions. The day before the exam I started to panic and knew (!!) that I had left myself under prepared, so I sat down and reread my lactation self study assignment, read through the practise exam questions and flicked through Ruth Lawrence's book 'Breastfeeding - A Guide for the Medical Profession', 1999 (available through ACE Graphics). I am pleased to say that I passed the exam and have been using my skill as an IBCLC to assist women in the newborn - six month time frame in a lactation clinic, but more commonly, to assist women in the first early days if breastfeeding difficulties arise.

This extra qualification is not something I use every single day, but is useful to have, is looked upon favourably by employees, and will assist you when discussing breastfeeding during childbirth education classes.

Alesa Koziol


 

A word of encouragement ...
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Carolyn Toolan (nee Reed), I have been an ACE Grad Dip student for a wee while now. I recently married a wonderful man, Patrick, who now works as a computer guru, but when I met him, he was working as an ambulance driver/orderly at St. Vincent's Hospital here in Sydney. I would like to share with you, a snapshot version of our big day.

However, before I do, I would like to say to all of you who are enrolled in the Grad Dip, it is worth keeping up your spirits and continuing on with the Course. At times, especially whilst researching for the packages, I did feel like giving up, but with encouragement and listening to my instincts I kept on going.

I had never facilitated an Antenatal Program prior to enrolling in the Grad Dip, but as a result of my study efforts in Childbirth education, I have worked as the Coordinator of Parenting Education at Liverpool Hospital and recently I joined the Mater Hospital, in North Sydney, where my role involves coordinating childbirth, parenting and staff education. A huge task, but I love a challenge!

I am extremely passionate about the work I do and think that's what ultimately keeps one plugging away at the Grad Dip. It is incredible to have the opportunity to provide parents with information that opens their world to possibilities which ultimately can help to preserve what birthing and parenting is all about - special experiences.

I finished my Supervised Teaching Phase a while ago. It provided me with some very useful strategies to help me become a more effective educator and now I enjoy supervising educators at my workplace.

If you are having difficulty finding expectant couples for your classes for the Supervised Teaching, why don't you contact the Antenatal Bookings Clerk at your local hospital? Maybe they can't fit all of the women into their classes and therefore need a referral to a reliable independent childbirth educator - YOU! Recently, Cassandra contacted me and told me about another Grad Dip student who was having trouble finding clients in order to set up her classes for the Supervised Teaching - I mentioned that my classes were fully booked and we had an overflow of people. Cassandra put the two of us in touch and now I understand Paula has set up her classes and started her Supervised Teaching! There are ways around most problems if you think outside the square!

Best wishes and hope to see you all reach the end of the pathway leading to the Grad Dip.

Carolyn Toolan


 

Certificate 4 in Workplace Training and Assessment
I undertook the Workplace Training Course in part to enhance my role as Senior Parenting Educator at Royal North Shore Hospital, and as a challenging return to study after many years. The Course lived up to my expectations on both counts! I have found that the Modules on Planning, Implementing and Evaluating Programs have been a great help in improving current classes and planning new ones. I have particularly been using the Assessment Module in the development of a much needed assessment procedure for all parenting educators in our organisation.

Recently the Parenting Education Coordinator's position became vacant and I was approached to "throw my hat in the ring" - something that I have considered in the past, but didn't feel qualified for. Having the Cat 2 now meant that I could be a serious contender, so I went for it! I qualified for the short list and was offered the position!

The Course was challenging, but enjoyable and even though studying on my own, from home, was frustrating at times, it was reassuring to know that I could contact Cassandra to talk over issues and run ideas past her. Which I did on many occasions! I would recommend this Course to anyone involved in organising or facilitating training in their workplace.

Kinds regards - Sue Spencer


 

Success
Well, I finished my Grad Dip and received my certificate on 17th January, 2000. What an achievement! The hardest part was the Supervised Teaching Phase, but I was one of the lucky ones, as I was already taking ante-natal classes.

I couldn't have done this without the help and encouragement from my ACE Supervisor, Gerry Dobson. I thank her very much.

I moved back to Ballarat in January 2001 to be closer to my family and am currently working in midwifery (all areas) at Ballarat Health Services, Base Hospital. Because I have my Grad Dip, I have been asked to take some classes - these included Parenting sessions and a Breast Feeding Information night. I was also asked to speak at our local ACMI meeting and I spoke about ACE and the Grad Dip. Quite a few of the girls were very interested - comments like "...one day when I go back to studies ...", were mentioned.

Because I was on a roll with studying, I decided to do the Australian Lactation Course and then I sat the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant exam. The Course is run by Lactation Consultants in Adelaide and can be done by either attending workshops or completing assignments. I chose the latter and found it a very satisfying and educational course.

Pauline Elliott


Kiaora Everyone!
My name is Caroline McNicol, mother of three, married to Aussie partner Ken. We left Sydney in 1984 to live here at Mount Maunganui, which is located on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The last few years of this century have been enjoyable, but hard work - studying since 1994, completing my ACE Diploma in Childbirth Education in 1996 then converting to the Graduate Diploma.

I was a very disillusioned and bored Enrolled Nurse with limited career options and then something exciting happened! I had a wonderful second birth at home with a wonderful independent midwife. I went to a prenatal course and thought to myself.. "I'd love to do what the Childbirth Educator is doing". So I started my Childbirth Education training with Parents Centre New Zealand, who employed ACE to provide long distance education. Things took a turn positively for me when I decided to change to the ACE Diploma course, with plans of becoming an independent childbirth educator - and why not? The influence of independent educators over here is strong.

The advantages of running a childbirth education business from my home and offering a personal service to women seemed like an idea that I couldn't walk away from and it was an idea which would benefit me and my family. So I set up business in the large lounge room in my home and soon had a number of women and their families who were happy to pay for my services.

At the end of 1996 the government Health Funding Authority called for expressions of interest from people willing to provide pregnancy and parenting education to the community. I worked day and night putting my proposal together, ringing Andrea for advice and got heaps of support. I had to outline my capabilities as a Provider of a service and negotiate a contract. I also sought legal advice from my solicitor and successfully signed my contract at the end of 1996. I knew it was the expertise I had gained from being in training with ACE, and the fact that I was continuing my education in the Graduate Diploma program that was a huge advantage to me gaining my contract. As far as I know, no one else in New Zealand has this qualification yet.

This all meant that I could offer my courses to the community free of charge and I would be financially viable, extremely well paid for the time and effort which I had put into studying. So now I am a bit like a principal Childbirth Educator, as I handle all of the administrative tasks including advertising and administration, fielding all phone calls regarding bookings, organising venues and employing other childbirth educators/midwives. I really enjoy facilitating the childbirth education classes (especially the special program for the under 25 year olds), but because of demand for classes I do have a legal contract to hire other educators to run some of the classes.

In 1998 my proposal for a 'Pregnancy Lifestyle' program received funding as well. This is a two hour class, which is free to everyone and covers topics such as alcohol, cannabis, cigarettes, smoke-free homes, nutrition, finances and pregnancy exercise. The New Zealand Health Funding Authority are very keen to fund this type of program which encourages participants to make healthy choices and lifestyle changes during their pregnancy.

Becoming a Childbirth Educator has been extremely rewarding for me. I really enjoy such a wonderful, varied, challenging career where I meet heaps of people and where no day is ever the same! Thanks to the great team at ACE, who over the years, have supported me via phone, fax and mail.

Caroline McNicol


Standing out from the crowd
My name is Debbie Butters and I live at Victoria Point in Queensland (just south of Brisbane). I received my Graduate Diploma in Childbirth Education from ACE in August 1996 and would like to share my success story with you.

As a hospital trained nurse and midwife with fourteen years practical experience, I was feeling a desire and some pressure to pursue further study. I spoke with colleagues who were working towards their Nursing Degree, but they didn't abound in enthusiasm in regard to their subject choices. If I was going to put the hard work into study, I wanted to find a course that was relevant and worthwhile. I am forever grateful that I chose the Graduate Diploma in CBE offered by ACE! The Director of Nursing at my hospital could also see the value in my study choice and I was granted funding from The Study and Research Assistance Scheme (SARAS), which covered a large portion of the costs. SARAS is Queensland based and is designed to assist officers of the public service and certain Hospital Boards employees.

I had worked at Hervey Bay Hospital for seven years, at which time it was a forty bed public hospital where only 'low risk' multigravida women gave birth. Our average was six births a month and since I was a part time staff member, I was lucky if I attended one birth every two months. I did teach the childbirth education classes, which grew tremendously in their popularity, due in part to my growing knowledge and enthusiasm. In reality my midwifery experience was not vast, but I began to discover that the Graduate Diploma in CBE was helping me to 'stand out from the crowd'.

I was asked to commence the Midwives Clinic at our hospital - which I thoroughly enjoyed and when Maryborough Base Hospital received a grant to increase postnatal patient education, I was encouraged to apply for the position. Consequently I was successful in my application and was able to negotiate to work three days a week at Maryborough and still do the Midwives Clinic and classes at Hervey Bay.

In 1997 our family decided to move to Brisbane so that my husband could study full time. I was to be the sole income earner, so I set about writing resumes and contacting the major maternity hospitals in search of work. I attended two job interviews and was successful at both! The first position was in a private hospital who were interested in increasing the client focus in a postnatal ward. But I decided to accept the second offer which involved working in a busy public maternity unit where I could work in all areas, but with an emphasis on antenatal clinic and education. My new colleagues were surprised that I had been granted permanent work, when it was the hospital's practice to give only casual work or offer short contracts. The two years I spent in this busy unit increased my skills in birth suite and in more complex care. I was able to work in the community-based midwives clinic and facilitate the "Young Parents Group".

In 1990, I again give credit to the Grad Dip in contributing to my success when I secured a Level 2 position at the new Redlands Maternity Unit. With a midwifery based focus and a beautiful new unit this is a dream job which was highly sought after! So, my advice is, the hard work is well worth the reward of 'standing out from the crowd'. I am confident that your job satisfaction and choices will increase greatly as you complete this practical and worthwhile Course.

Debbie Butters