Student midwife offers to help others

Student midwife offers to help others

25 March 2020

THE disappointment of having her student midwifery course suspended has spurred Leitrim woman Olivia McAnulty to use her free time to help others.

The 28 year-old was devastated to learn that Queen’s University Belfast had to cancel her placement due to the COVID-19 threat.

The former secondary school teacher was told last Tuesday that her placement would end for the foreseeable future.

She explained: “I was a first year midwifery student with almost half of the year over. It hasn’t been an easy decision I’m sure but QUB School of Nursing and Midwifery decided to bring our placements to an end with the COVID-19 outbreak from last Wednesday onwards.

“Despite being extremely overwhelmed with this news I would like to find a positive at this terrible time.”

The mother of two year-old Ríoghnach said in a Facebook post that she was volunteering to help elderly and disadvantaged people in the Carryduff, Castlewellan and Leitrim areas.

“Whether this be to collect groceries or run errands for people or even just help anyway I can, I’d like you to message me and I can see how I can help,” she offered.

It was Olivia’s own experience becoming a mother which led her to consider changing her career. 

“I have wanted to become a midwife for a good few years now and my desire was strengthened after the amazing care I received from my own midwives throughout my pregnancy and the birth of my daughter,” she said.

Unfortunately, like other students, she does not know when she will be able to resume her course.

Olivia said: “As it stands now, and understandably so, there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding how and when we will continue. 

“Queen’s has been fantastic at keeping in contact with us and I know that when a decision has been made, we will be told straight away. This can’t have been an easy decision for them to make. 

“Like our amazing teachers, Queen’s lecturers have also been working hard to create and upload online resources to ensure that we don’t fall too far behind. 

“Having previously completed an undergraduate and postgraduate degree with QUB, I know that our education is in safe hands and I’m not worried.”

However, she added: “This is a situation that no one could have seen coming so we are all having to play it by ear, I suppose.

“I’m very disappointed, not at the decision but just at the fact that my life plans have been put on hold. 

“But this isn’t the end of anything. My plans are only on pause and hopefully, sooner rather than later, they will resume and I can begin working towards achieving my goal.” 

Olivia said that she is happy to do some minor tasks from delivering groceries, newspapers or run basic errands such as collecting preions.

“No matter how small it may seem to a person, if I can help in any way possible, I would be delighted,” she said. “If there are any businesses or pharmacies for example that need help in delivering meals or prescriptions, I would be eager to help in whatever way I can.”

Olivia’s unselfish offer of help is even more impressive, considering her fitness trainer husband Gerard has had to temporarily close his gym and karate club, Kazoku Karate in Castlewellan, offering classes online instead.

He also has stepped up to give back to the karate community using the skills and experience he has.

Olivia said: “Despite the challenges we are facing as a family at the minute with having to close the gym, Gerard is still managing to give back to not only our local community but those in other countries. 

“Along with two other karate coaches from Scotland and England, he is running free online karate sessions to ensure that children aren’t missing out or falling behind due to not being able to attend classes in the dojo.”

She said that he has also invited any NHS worker to join his online fitness group where they can access training sessions with himself, free of charge.

Olivia can be contacted via her Facebook page.