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Introducing Amanda Forti
Amanda Forti RN RM joined CRANAplus as a Remote Clinical Educator in July of last year. Amanda has a Master of Philosophy in the field of Midwifery along with experience in private and public sectors, research, management, and education. Here, she discusses the power of a smile, her career-long dream to get to Nhulunbuy, and a bit about our Maternity Emergency Care courses.
“When I was a graduate nurse in 1989, a family friend involved in the evaluation of Remote Area Teacher Education programs in North East Arnhem Land said, ‘You’ve just got to come up here and work’,” says Amanda.
Just a heartbeat away from packing her bags and booking the next available flight, Amanda learnt that she would first need to become a midwife.
“So, I went and did my midwifery, but I never got back there,” she says.
After becoming a registered midwife in 1992, Amanda continued to build her skill set over the next three decades, adding research, management, and education notches to her belt.
Keeping her hand in clinical practice, Amanda also worked as a midwife at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne; in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in London; and later as a clinical midwifery consultant (CMC) for high-risk pregnancy for NSW Health, among many other clinical roles.
All stars aligned
Amanda recounts a chance event in 2009 that went on to shape her life and career: meeting CRANAplus Fellow, Prof Sue Kildea at a bike store in Brisbane.
“We met when I was a nurse unit manager. We’d both moved to Brisbane at the same time,” says Amanda.
“[Shortly after] there were some lovely women from Arnhem Land that came down to have their surgery. She was helping with cultural awareness for our staff. Her and I got chatting about the disparities of health care and what we could do.
“[Not long after] I became a researcher and midwife with [Sue], and it was soon after that she said, ‘I really think you should become a facilitator for CRANAplus’.”
Amanda went on to facilitate CRANAplus courses as a volunteer for around 10 years, prior to commencing her role as a casual Remote Clinical Educator for CRANAplus in July 2022.
“It all came together at the end of last year,” she says, talking of her increasing desire to align with a values-based organisation.
“Education, to me, is the absolute cornerstone of changing health outcomes. Whether it’s for women, families, patients and the workforce, it’s all about education for me.”
Having heart and a positive focus
Being emotionally available, having your heart in what you do, and forming a partnership with each individual woman are crucial steps to being a good midwife, Amanda says.
“We teach skills and theory, but also a lot about attitudes, and [why it’s important] to smile when someone comes through the door,” says Amanda.
“It’s important to approach all women and families with a non-judgemental lens, be open and accepting of differences, and understand that fundamentally, all people have similar wants and needs.”
“It’s an absolute fundamental essential that you have attributes of kindness, openness, are non-judgemental and positive, and offer encouragement.
“[We aim to empower] health providers to know how powerful their roles are, how crucial their roles are, and how they can influence outcomes in so many ways.”
“When we educate, we try not to sugarcoat the challenges, but we always try to offset them with the positives.”
On CRANAplus courses
The CRANAplus Maternity Emergency Care course teaches participants to identify risks and provide maternity emergency care, along with health promotion and prevention strategies to support a healthy pregnancy and birth.
“We talk about not getting overwhelmed by solving all the problems at once,” says Amanda.
“We teach students to prioritise, to be organised, to plan early, and to take a team approach.
“It’s not about accepting a lack of resources. You may not have medical devices like ultrasound machines, but you have a measuring tape, and you can measure a pregnant belly without those things. We teach those skills.”
“There are lots of things that can be done without technology.”
Making it to Nhulunbuy
Things came full circle in September of last year when Amanda was invited to facilitate a Maternity Emergency Care course in Nhulunbuy alongside CRANAplus Remote Clinical Educator Leonie McLaughlin.
“It was a dream come true… 35 years later, I finally got to Nhulunbuy and Yirrkala community and made some friends… I felt a real affinity for the place.”
“It is amazing how CRANA and my work have woven their way through my life and my career.
“CRANAplus has been integral not just to my experience as an educator, but to my life experience.”
Find out more about our Maternity Emergency Care course.