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Clinical Midwife Manager Lissa Yates is always on the go when she’s working shifts at Middlemore Hospital, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie – I love the teamwork that comes with core midwifery and working with multi-disciplinary teams. I coordinate the staff in our unit where we average around 18-20 births a day,” Lissa says.

“Many of our women that come to us have risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes, so work is always busy and hectic. I feel I can make a little bit of a difference in their lives through providing the best care possible because they deserve it.”

Inspired by the midwives who cared for her during her own pregnancies, Lissa decided to become a midwife over 14 years ago. 

“It was always in my mind, from the word ‘go’ I wanted to be a midwife. I like to communicate with whaanau and being able to read someone without having a conversation.”

As one of the managers on the Birthing and Assessment ward, she has a special connection to one of her colleagues.

“I’m her boss, but I don’t like saying that, no, I’m the ‘coordinator’ on the floor when she’s working,” Lissa says of her mum Carolyn who became a midwife seven years ago.

“We don’t often work together, it’s just the way the rosters fall, but when I do work with her it’s amazing. We know our roles – she’s the boss and I’m one of the midwives who takes direction; I’m happy with that. It’s the best thing I ever done [become a midwife], apart from having my family,” Carolyn says.

Growing up in Papakura, the Papakura Birthing Unit holds a special place in her life. 

“I was born at Papakura Birthing Unit - I had my first child at the Unit and my second at Middlemore Hospital. I’ve also been a midwife there,” Lissa says. 

“Having experienced being a consumer within our DHB and being involved with the local community is invaluable to how I care for women and their whaanau.”

As a Maaori midwife, her father is from Kaitaia (Ngāpuhi - Te Rarawa o Te Aupouri) and her mother is from Pukekohe (Tainui - Ngāti Te Ata), she understands the needs of whaanau. 

“I feel that acknowledging who I am makes me aware of others and trying to make their experience as pleasant and positive as they hoped, as well as keeping all involved safe and well informed.”

Although working at Papakura Birthing Unit, seeing her mum graduate as a midwife, and becoming an Associate Clinical Midwifery Manager have been highlights in her career, the simple moments she shares with women on the ward, as well as colleagues are just as memorable.

“Sometimes during a shift, you have an experience where you think to yourself ‘now that’s why I became a midwife’. Those moments are amazing,” she says.

“The team I work with are fantastic. Every single staff member makes what I do enjoyable, as well as making those amazing moments possible.”

Despite the high demands of being a DHB-employed midwife, Lissa loves supporting Counties Manukau women.

“I like to treat women as I would want to be treated myself or a member of my family. I call the midwives that cared for me during my pregnancy my midwifery angels – I strive to be like them for the women I care for.”

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