At the age of 21, Rachael Williams has already delivered 100 babies.
Although ‘‘delivered’’ is not quite the correct term.
‘‘You deliver pizzas, not babies,’’ said the nurse holding a three-day-old baby, yet to be named.
‘‘We say ‘caught’. I’ve caught about 100 babies I think, but I’ve been present at a lot more labours.
‘‘We’re thrown straight into the practical.’’
Ms Williams is one of about 120 graduate midwives and registered nurses who worked at Canberra Hospital this year.
Next year will see another similar number of young medical professionals – 16 midwives as well as 95 to 100 registered nurse graduates – start their careers at the hospital.
Already they will have had plenty of hospital experience before they turn up to the wards in 2013 – Ms Williams needed to help 40 women give birth before she graduated a year ago, for example – but soon they will be based at the hospital full-time.
Most of the recently graduated nurses come from the University of Canberra and the ACT’s Australian Catholic University but up to 20 per cent in next year’s incoming batches will arrive from interstate universities in Victoria, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and South Australia.