Joondalup Health Campus midwife a massive help to new mums


Parents Peter and Michelle Ferguson with midwife Arlene Ross and their newborn son, William.
Parents Peter and Michelle Ferguson with midwife Arlene Ross and their newborn son, William.

CLARKSON resident Arlene Ross epitomises the spirit of tomorrow’s International Midwives Day.

The Joondalup Health Campus employee (61) has been a midwife at the hospital for more than a decade in a career that hit the 40-year mark in 2016.

Such is her reputation in Joondalup, patients have nicknamed her the “booby whisperer” given her expertise at advising new mothers on breastfeeding.

Second-time mum Michelle Ferguson can vouch for Ms Ross’s talents.

Ms Ross helped her after the birth of her daughter five years ago and again when she recently had a boy.

“She’s just amazing; with our daughter she really helped and got her feeding, and it’s been so good having her look after us again this time around,” Ms Ferguson said.

Ms Ross’s midwifery career began in Scotland in 1976 when she was 21.

She had been a registered nurse in orthopaedics but left the field in pursuit of midwifery, which was her passion.

“It’s a privilege to be involved bringing new lives into the world,” she said.

“When you look after parents and their newborns it is a very intimate thing; you’re an intruder in the relationship between the parents and the baby, it’s almost like you have to be invited in.”

Ms Ross arrived in Australia in 2006 and most of her family has since joined her, including her mother, who turns 99 in August.

Impressively, Ms Ross embarked on a mother-daughter skydiving adventure with the nonagenarian when she was 92.

Clinical nurse manager Sandra Flugge labelled Ms Ross “truly incredible” and “one of the most giving people I know”.

“She’s even become a surrogate grandmother to a local mum who has no family support in Perth and who gave birth to twins nearly a decade ago; she pops in to see them after work and lends whatever support she can,” she said.

The hospital will honour its 173 midwives as part of tomorrow’s celebrations.