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09 September 2019

The women of Women’s Health Week: meet Debbie Key

Debbie is a Clinical Midwife Specialist and a dedicated mother of five.

In 1979, Debbie was finishing high school in Toowoomba. With a deep connection to the land, she was a passionate jillaroo, working with sheep and cattle on a property in far north Queensland. She had always been fascinated with new life, and felt drawn to the animals who were pregnant, birthing or breastfeeding their young.

Debbie found nursing in 1993, when her mother-in-law Gwen was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. She helped care for Gwen in the last years of her life and, after Gwen lost her battle in 1998, Debbie enrolled in a nursing course, determined to make a difference in the lives of others.

Years later, Debbie and her husband moved to Moree. She was now a mother of five, juggling home life and a nursing career. She made time for study and completed a Bachelor of Nursing at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst. It was during her postgraduate year as a registered nurse at Moree Hospital that she applied to become a midwife.

Today, Debbie is the Clinical Midwife Specialist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Maternal Infant Health Strategies at Moree Hospital.

She works closely with Aboriginal women in Moree, providing support throughout their pregnancy journeys, and helping them prepare for the birth of their babies. She also coordinates outreach clinics in Collarenebri and Mungindi, providing maternity care to women who would otherwise need to travel for treatment.

Debbie says her ultimate goal is to contribute to the longevity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, by improving health outcomes for women and their babies. She feels privileged to be a part of each woman’s journey at such a personal time in their life.

“I truly believe that working as a midwife is an honour,” says Debbie. “It is the most awesome, rewarding job in the world.

“The land and animals taught me to be patient, gentle and compassionate. It has made me the midwife that I am today.”

 For more information on Women’s Health Week's presenting organisation, Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, visit jeanhailes.org.au