This year marks 40 years since Hinchingbrooke Hospital first opened its’ doors in 1983. Here Wei Chian McIver, Midwife in the Maternity Day Assessment Unit, share her memories and photos of the changes that she has seen in that time.
Wei Chian McIver joined the NHS 40 years ago from Malaysia and speaks 3 languages. Besides her nursing and midwifery training, she has worked at Hinchingbrooke Hospital since it opened its doors for the first time in 1983.
She said: “I remember us carrying chairs and walking across the road from the old County Hospital, into what was a brand new Hinchingbrooke Hospital. When I first started I worked in the Care of the Elderly wards located at the rear of the Hinchingbrooke site as a pupil nurse in 1983 and worked on every single general ward, before moving across to maternity once I was a fully qualified midwife in 1995.
“When I moved over from Malaysia some of my qualifications were not recognised in the UK, so I had to study for more qualifications to transition from a State Enrolled Nurse (SEN) to do a conversion course to be a State Registered Nurse (SRN). I would attend night school and work shifts, it was tough but I was determined. My intention was to get both my nursing and midwifery qualifications as I had planned to work as a humanitarian aid worker. I had even handed my application forms in, but then I met my husband, so working or volunteering in the third world was put on the back burner. I do hope I might get the opportunity when I retire.
“Hinchingbrooke was a relatively small hospital, like a country hospital, before the Treatment Centre was built in 2005 and extensions to the main hospital were built; everyone knew each other, and staff were and still are friendly and supportive. When I was pregnant with each of my three daughters, I chose to give birth at my place of work because I knew I would receive very good care. My children are now 26, 24 and 17. I wouldn't have gone anywhere else, it's so special to know that I had my team around me, and I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else.
“I really enjoy caring for pregnant women and in particular antenatal care. The role has changed over time, IT and research play a big part in midwifery care. We have come a long way from paper documentation. As technology has become more advanced with equipment such as scans, we pick up more problems and a plan of management for our women can be made accordingly. Even blood tests can highlight issues and provide answers that we were not able to do so previously.
“Midwifery has various different specialties now, with mental health midwives, diabetes specialists, midwife sonographers, bereavement midwives and many more. Besides being a midwife we work as an educator, counsellor, support worker and friend to our women. I call our Maternity Day Assessment Unit, the Maternity Detective Agency Unit because we get a lot of phone calls from women, GPs and Community midwives for help and we are always trying to do some detective work to help in whatever way we can, it makes me feel incredibly proud to work at Hinchingbrooke and for the NHS.”