A Day in the Life of Chelsea Bell

Tuesday, 11 July, 2023

A Day in the Life of Chelsea Bell

Chelsea works as a registered midwife at Epworth Freemasons, working in maternity, across all areas including the birth suite, postnatal and the special care nursery.

Chelsea had always wanted to be a midwife, but life opportunities led her to kindergarten teaching and disability support care before she decided it was time to return to university and fulfil her dream.

She graduated Midwifery and joined the Epworth HealthCare as a graduate midwife in 2021, all while being a mum of 3 young kids.

With a rotating midwifery roster, her days can vary. In the birth suite, Chelsea provides care to women labouring and guides them safely and comfortably through labour and birth. In postnatal care, she assists women and families to learn how to care for their new baby, including breastfeeding, baby bathing and settling techniques, while ensuring both mum and baby are recovering well from birth. In the special care nursery, Chelsea provides care and support to premature or unwell babies and their parents.

Chelsea’s passion for midwifery is based on supporting and empowering women and families during this special time in their lives. She recently received the Excellence in Quality Improvement or Research Practice award as a part of the Epworth HealthCare Nursing and Midwifery Awards 2023.

Chelsea loves building rapport with her patients and seeing them grow in confidence. Working in different parts of maternity, she often looks after families at different stages of their journey.

04:45 My husband’s alarm goes off and he wakes me up to get in the shower first. I then make the kids’ school lunches and we usually have breakfast together, before I head off to work for the day. I put dinner in the slow cooker as I’m not home until about 18:30.

05:30 Listen to podcasts on my hour-long drive to work.

06:30 Arrive at work. I like to be early as sometimes the traffic can be heavy, or I get to work and there may be a change to the area I will be working in. Today, I’m on the postnatal ward. I check my patient allocation and use any extra time to review the histories of my patients to see if there is anything extra I may need to know. I also ensure medication is ordered for any patients going home today.

07:00 I receive a handover from the nightshift midwife. We review charts and discuss babies feeding and any concerns or plans required for the day. I make a rough plan for my day before heading in to meet my patients.

07:30 Introduce myself to the families, and discuss any queries they have about the day ahead. I complete my discharge observations so I can finalise any paperwork and provide education and wound care to my patients. I discuss how a baby is feeding, ensuring the mother feels confident before they head home.

08:00 Take observations and administer morning medication to patients. I chat to my patients to check how they are feeling and if they need to debrief about their birth. I check if a baby is due for a bath and administer a newborn blood spot screening test or weight check.

Chelsea Bell going through patient information with Nicole Paine, Birth Suite Manager, Epworth Freemasons.

09:00 After discharging a woman, I strip the room and get it ready for the cleaning staff. I set up another room ready for my patient to come from theatre, after her caesarean. We supply nappies for the baby and every mother receives an Epworth Maternity “Welcome to the World” gift box on admission to their room.

09:30 Time for a quick break.

09:45 One of my patients is ready to bath her baby before he is due to feed. We have baths on wheels that we take into a patient’s room. I really enjoy spending this time with families, as it is a good opportunity to provide education and help build parents’ confidence and ease their nerves. Today, this baby really enjoyed the bath and was very relaxed. I help the mother with breastfeeding.

10:30 Another patient called as their baby was waking for a feed and was due for her newborn screening test and a baby weigh. The newborn screening test is performed on babies around 48 hours of age and it screens for a whole range of rare, but serious medical conditions. I weigh the baby prior to the test. We expect the baby to lose some weight during this time (it can lose up to 10% of its birth weight) and we implement a feeding plan to minimise further weight loss. This baby’s weight loss is in the normal range. I like to do the newborn screening test on the baby while it’s feeding so the baby is relaxed and comforted.

11:00 I receive a call from another mother requiring assistance with hand expressing as her baby was too sleepy to latch to the breast. This is a good time to discuss feeding cues, settling techniques and answer any other questions parents may have.

12:00 Theatre calls and my patient is ready to come to the room after her caesarean section. I receive handover from the recovery nurse and midwife. I orient the family to the room, then check the patient’s vital signs and blood loss every 30 minutes. I spend time helping with baby’s first breastfeed and skin-to-skin time with mum. When she’s finished, I support dad to dress the baby and have his own cuddles.

13:00 We offer a ‘hospital in the hotel’ program and one of my patients is due for a transfer. I help the family pack up their belongings and phone the Park Hyatt hotel when the family is ready. A Park Hyatt car arrives and I help place baby in the capsule.

13:30 I give handover to the midwife in charge and have a quick lunch break.

14:00 Afternoon staff arrive and we give bedside handover with each patient.

14:15 I finish writing my notes and ensure all documentation is updated before getting ready to go home.

15:00 My shift finishes and I head home. I value this driving downtime before the chaos of afterschool activities commences with my family!

15:45 I pick up my girls and head to netball training.

16:00 Netball training for my youngest daughter. I do homework with my other daughter while her sister trains.

16:45 Netball training for my other daughter begins.

17:00 Head to the school to collect my son from his production practice.

17:15 Drop my son at his football training.

17:30 Head back to netball to collect my girls.

18:15 Collect my son from footy training and I finally head home to organise dinner.

19:00 My husband gets home from work and I head to the netball committee meeting.

21:00 Get home from the netball meeting and get everyone’s uniforms organised for the next day, before heading to bed!

Top image caption: Chelsea Bell with new twins Jack and Lucy.

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