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We caught up with Lesley Pournara who recently completed the Babyem Maternity Nurse Training. During the interview, she shares her passion for caring for babies, her fears before attending the course and how she felt being offered full-time work after taking part in the Babyem placement scheme.

What is your background?

I am a qualified NNEB, parent of two daughters and come from a family who fostered newborn babies whilst adoption procedures were completed, so during my teenage years, I got lots of experience helping out with newborn baby care.

What made you want to be a Maternity Nurse?

I came across maternity nursing by chance after reading about it on the internet which immediately triggered my interest. As a stay at home mother ( I was 58yrs old at the time) it looked like the perfect job for me as I have always had a passion for babies and felt that my background, knowledge, and experience together with the Babyem course could lead to me being employable again and do a job that would give me great satisfaction.

What were your fears about doing the course / breaking into the Maternity Nurse field?

My main fears were :
1) That I may not pass the course and struggle writing the assignments as I had not done anything academic for many years.
2) That I would invest my time and money and not be given the break I needed to prove my abilities and competence. I knew that it would not be easy for me as I had no recent experience and no employment references at all – my past childcare experience was many years ago before having my own children.
I really did feel that all odds were against me!

How many placements have you completed?

I have completed 2 placements so far.

What did you enjoy/learn? Does anything surprise you?

The placements were great! I can’t wait to do more! I enjoyed everything about them – all my worries and concerns fell away the moment I got started and met the families. I learned so much from the experience but the most important thing for me was learning how to communicate clearly and well with the parents and making them feel comfortable and at ease with me. Being able to pass on my knowledge and address any issues tactfully without making them feel inadequate. Learning how to be discreet in the family home and not invade their personal space, giving them time alone.
I learned how to work with twins which were great as I had no prior twins experience.
The most enjoyable part (apart from caring for the babies)was the feeling of satisfaction seeing the parents confidence grow and the gratitude and appreciation from the parents for the help and support I gave them in making their life with a newborn easier and less complicated just by supporting, passing on my knowledge and experience and helping to form a routine –  giving them a break and getting a good nights sleep too !
The only surprise was that I needn’t have worried about anything!
My confidence has grown and I now know that taking the training course and placements with Babyem was the best decision I could have ever made.

What was the outcome of completing the placements?

The outcome of completing the placements was the biggest surprise of all – I was offered a paid 2-month booking! I cannot tell you how happy I am with this outcome. For me, getting references was my main focus and my only expectation – getting a job from a placement never crossed my mind. I am now 2 weeks into my 2-month booking and feeling so grateful for being given this opportunity, I’m loving every minute.

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