The World Health Organization has designated 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.
As part of this year-long celebration, Northern Health is highlighting a different nurse or midwife each month. For October, we interviewed Rebecca Mlikotic, a midwife in Prince George.
Where do you live? How do you feel about it?
I live in Prince George. I moved here from Kelowna, which I always found a bit big, so living in Prince George has been a nice change of pace. There are many people here who are “home grown” and it’s a welcoming community.
Tell us about your midwifery experience and role(s)
I graduated from UBC [University of BC] in 2019, so I’m just finishing my first year of practice. I’m working on a team of two at the New Beginnings Midwifery Clinic with the clinic owner, Judy. We take on six to eight pregnancies per month, and work with the client through pregnancy, labor, birth, and up to six weeks postpartum. We also offer both in-hospital and out-of-hospital births.
What do you like about your role?
I love that the midwifery care model is based on relationship building and continuity of care. Even the way we’re paid gives us a lot of flexibility with how often we see our patients and how long the visits are. I also really enjoy supporting people at home through postpartum (after birth) visits and homebirths. And obviously, cuddling newborns is a nice perk.
What impact does your role have on patients?
The most common thing that patients usually say is that, because of our model, we have a lot of time to educate clients through informed choice discussions. We dive deep into people’s maternity care and want to be sure they understand what we're offering – tests, birth options, the risks and benefits, etc. I believe it helps people feel safe and empowered, because they know they have agency when it comes to their care.
What has your midwifery background taught you?
Labour and birth can be unpredictable, so it’s important to have a good team around you. Midwives specialize in normal, low-risk pregnancy and birth, so we collaborate often with other health care professionals for patients who need a higher level of care. Since I starting working in Prince George, I’ve felt so well supported by my practice partner but also by the nursing and hospital staff; it’s been such a gift.
What made you want to go into midwifery?
I always knew I wanted to be in health care, but wasn't sure what field. My background is in medical biochemistry. In the 4th year of my undergraduate degree, the UBC Midwifery program was hosting an information session. I listened to a midwife talk about her relationship with her clients: she gave a description of maternity care that posed it as such a beautiful blend of the arts and science. Since finishing my training, and now working in the field myself, I’ve learned what an honour it is to work with families through these major transitions. The decision to be a midwife came down to having a job which is family-centred and allows me to build those meaningful relationships. I’m so happy with my decision!
What is one thing about midwives that you wish you could tell everyone?
In BC, midwifery services are completely covered by the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP), as long as you have a valid BC CareCard.
What drew you to Northern Health?
Most of my placements were in rural communities, including Prince George with my now practice partner, Judy. I was drawn to the slower pace of rural communities and the collaborative, team aspect that is present in the North. You get the sense that people have each other’s back and know how to keep an eye out for each other.