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“Bittersweet” retirement for one of Townsville’s most-loved midwives

Published:  23 November 2021

After caring for 540 families over the last 13 years at the Townsville Birth Centre, Dawn Billingsley recently delivered her last baby before retiring from a 27-year career in midwifery.

Mrs Billingsley’s career began at the Kirwan Hospital for Women before moving to The Townsville Hospital and then the Townsville Birth Centre when it opened in 2008.

“I’ve worked at the Birth Centre for 13 years now and during this time I’ve cared for 540 families,” Mrs Billingsley said.

“I’m really proud to have worked as a midwife and played such a crucial role in caring for women’s health during these 27 years.

“I’ve really loved working in this space and having the opportunity to build these lifelong connections with the community, so it is a bit bittersweet to be leaving now.”

Mrs Billingsley, who was recognised as Midwife of the Year in 2011, said she was humbled to know there had been people still calling to ask for her care during their pregnancies.

“For some of these families I have delivered three, four or five children so I’ve really built up a relationship with them,” she said.

“It is a little bit hard to know there are upcoming births for families that I’ve provided care for previously that I will miss. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet that this is my final week.

“It is comforting knowing that I am leaving the centre in the hands of the dedicated and passionate staff who will continue to provide fantastic care to the community.”

Mrs Billingsley said she would be looking forward to spending quality time with her husband who had also been on shift work.

“I’ve been doing shift work for most of my career and more recently he has been too, so our schedules have been hard to coordinate.

“It will be nice to spend time together and I’m also looking forward to having time with my children and my six grandchildren.’’

Midwifery unit manager Sari Holland said it had been a privilege to work with and know Mrs Billingsley for more than 20 years.

“I first began working with Dawn back in 1998 when I started as a student midwife and now work with her as her manager,” Ms Holland said.

“Dawn is such a knowledgeable and skilled midwife and she has shared that passion with so many aspiring and fully-fledged midwives during her time here.

“Dawn was one of the original members of the team that opened the Birth Centre and she has played a crucial role in managing the data and setting up the model of care that runs so beautifully now.

“I feel so honoured to have met, been taught by, and work with Dawn over the years, she has such a love for being a midwife and she will be deeply missed.”

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