Midwife Larry a safe pair of hands for new mums and dads

A tall, young man may not be who you expect when you call the midwife, but Larry Dunnett is used to defying career expectations.

Introducing Larry

Also an experienced paramedic and nurse, Mr Dunnett is the first male student midwife at Calvary Lenah Valley Hospital, and the second person to undertake a new fast-tracked Graduate Diploma in Midwifery program. Calvary offers the program in partnership with Charles Sturt University, providing paid employment and on-the-job experience supporting the student midwives’ full-time study load.

It has been an intense but rewarding year for the father of two but he would not have it any other way and would not be starting his midwifery career anywhere else.

“One of my own sons was born at Lenah Valley and happily calls himself a Calvary baby,” said Mr Dunnett.

“I’m really loving midwifery, and being here has been really rewarding for me. It’s a small team and I’m getting to learn so much from so many wonderful, experienced midwives.”

Originally from regional Victoria, Larry completed a double degree to qualify as both nurse and paramedic. He still does occasional shifts in both roles but said he was looking for a change of direction when the Calvary program came up.

“Being a paramedic is very in the moment. You treat people and transport them to hospital but that’s where it stops, you don’t have that ongoing connection,” he said.

“As a midwife, I’m with the mother during birth and see them for their whole stay on the maternity unit, which has been great.”

Midwives at Lenah Valley

At Calvary Lenah Valley, new mums stay for five days and the midwives support them and their partners in those critical early days so that when they go home they are a little more rested and confident taking on their new parenting roles.

“The unit here is a pretty happy place. It’s a happy time for the mums, and for their partners, who can also stay for the whole time too,” Mr Dunnett said.

While midwives are still overwhelmingly women, Midwife Unit Manager Cath Carroll says Larry fits in well.

“He’s very natural in the role. Part of being a midwife is building relationships, and Larry does that so well. He is calm and brings his whole life experience to the role.”

Calvary Hobart’s Director of Clinical Services and midwife, Leah Magliano, said Larry followed on from Kirstie Warn, who completed the program last year and recently received a university award for academic achievement for her Graduate Diploma in Midwifery.

“Midwives fulfil such an important role in healthcare and for our families,” Ms Magliano said. “We are really pleased to offer talented and committed people like Kirstie and Larry and our future post-graduate student midwives a fast track to their new careers with a supported and paid placement that gives them the opportunity to learn and grow with Calvary.”