Staff profiles

Gabi Klapka
Clinical Midwife Manager

Gabi started working at Taranaki Base Hospital at the start of September – a newborn to Taranaki DHB but a midwife for more than 20 years. We caught up with Gabi for a chat about her career as part of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

What’s your role and how’s it been so far?
I’ve had the most amazing, warm welcome from the maternity team and I feel already at home here. Taranaki DHB’s incredible midwives and nurses are working to ensure that women who use these facilities are receiving the best care.

My new team is just awesome, everyone is helpful and friendly and there are so many smiles everywhere. You never know what the day brings. Midwifery is unpredictable; women have their babies when the babies are ready to come (mostly) so every day is different and sometimes crazy busy. It’s extremely rewarding to look back at the end of your day and think ‘well done team we managed the high workload and gave the best care’.

I oversee the maternity area including antenatal (before baby is born) labour and birthing, and postnatal (after baby is born).  My job is to ensure the maternity unit is running smoothly, always having safety for wāhine, pēpē and whānau, as well as our staff, as first priority.

What made you want to become a midwife?
I started thinking about it when pregnant with my first son. Being pregnant with all the hormonal changes, birthing when your body just takes over, a midwife who is guiding you – this experience profoundly influenced me and so I enrolled into the direct entry midwifery course. My last two children were born at home, in the pool – an amazing, empowering experience.

Training as a midwife
I trained at WINTEC (Polytec) in Hamilton and worked there for 15 years, mainly in a primary birthing centre. I also have a diploma in nursing which I completed in Germany a few decades ago. As midwives we participate in a recertification programme, ensuring our knowledge is up to date and evidence-based and I also passed a lactation consultant exam last year.

Highlights of your career?
I recently spent 2.5 years in Qatar which was a huge eye opener.  I worked in a state-of-the art hospital with midwives and nurses from about 100 different nationalities and I made some wonderful friends over there.

I also had the opportunity last year to work for six weeks in Nepal for a non-profit organisation which rescued more than 400 vulnerable children. I assisted with the development of a sexual and reproductive health programme. This was the most rewarding and fulfilling experience so far.

What are the best things about being a midwife?
I’m passionate about working in partnership with wāhine/women and their whānau, empowering and educating them so they can make informed and best decisions for themselves. I so much enjoy meeting people, learning from them and sharing my knowledge. Every family is unique and I always feel privileged being part of this very special time.

Achievements of note as a midwife?  
I have had two babies while training as a midwife. I graduated with one child in the front pack, one child in the back pack and two children holding each of my hands. That was an achievement.

Influential people in your career?
My own midwife who later became my mentor is my role model. Her calm nature and extensive midwifery knowledge, as well as her trust in the normal birthing process allowed me to also find trust in myself and nature. Although we, women, have been birthing forever, we sometimes forget what our bodies are capable of doing.

Any future plans for your career?
I’m currently focusing on finding my feet in my new working environment and my plan is to work here as long as I’m of benefit to the organisation. I would like to return to Nepal at some stage and volunteer my time and knowledge to assist the less fortunate.


Last updated: Thursday, October 1, 2020

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