Maternal Child Health Nurses Make a Difference in Yarra Ranges
Over the last 12 months our dedicated team of Maternal Child Health Nurses have seen 1,795 new babies across Yarra Ranges. They’ve helped 819 first time parents and facilitated 74 new parent groups.
Our maternal child health team is now looking for new members to support this vital array of services.
From the first home visit to the key developmental checks, Yarra Ranges’ littlest locals will have – at a minimum – 10 one-on-one appointments with a Maternal Child Health Nurse (MCHN). Along with weighing and measuring, at every visit nurses are building a trusting relationship with new parents, providing parenting support, and monitoring for any need for early intervention or enhanced services.
“The early years are a time of rapid brain growth, really influenced by children's early experiences. MCH Nurses aim to promote the health and wellbeing of families during the early parenting stage, so all children can have the best start to life.” said Director of Communities Jane Price.
With the highest standard of training in the country, Victoria's MCH service is committed to delivering exceptional care while championing local accessibility. And in a region as diverse and widespread as Yarra Ranges, this local service plays a particularly important role.
“Providing these services locally – we have 16 MCHN centres in Yarra Ranges - doesn’t only ensure parents and babies get the health and developmental care they need, but our services also build social connections in a phase of life that can otherwise be isolating,” said Ms Price.
“Continuity of care is also very important. And unfortunately, that is something that low staffing levels can affect. Mothers interacting with different care providers at each visit don't have the same opportunity to establish familiarity and trust. It’s these strong therapeutic relationships that create the ability for important conversations around health and wellbeing for both parents and babies.”
Local mother Holly says getting to see the same nurse provides a sense of reassurance. "From my first encounter as a nervous first-time mum, to the appointments I now look forward to as a mum of three, I have always found the MCH services invaluable," Holly says.
"It feels like you're having a chat with a friend and someone who cares.”
Ms Price says the impacts of staffing shortages could result in delays in seeing older children at key developmental stages.
“Lack of staff could also mean we’re prioritising new babies – and those vital age and stage checks are pushed back– which could mean any developmental issues aren’t picked up before starting kinder.”
“Our passionate team will always provide the very best of care to our families. However we do currently have a range of open positions for MCN nurses, that I’d really encourage any practitioners out there to consider. Whether you're a new graduate, looking to return to work, or just looking for a great new team or role, Yarra Ranges is a terrific place to work.”
Ms Price says nurses looking to shift to Yarra Ranges will find a flexible working arrangements and plenty of professional development opportunities. “We have individualised return to work support for nurses re-entering the workforce after parenting leave or extended personal leave. Not to mention the fantastic community we get to work in and support every day.”