“Call the Midwife” returns Sunday with post-episode blogs from Vanderbilt School of Nursing Nurse-Midwives
By Tatum Lyles Flick
VUSN Communications Specialist
The new season of Nashville Public Television’s hit show, Call the Midwife, starts this Sunday—and as they have since the series came to NPT in 2013, Vanderbilt School of Nursing nurse-midwives are ready to share their insights and experiences in post-episode blogs.
VUSN Instructor Hannah Diaz, MSN’09, CNM, and Vanderbilt School of Nursing Faculty Practice Nurse-Midwives & Primary Care Provider Kate Virostko, CNM, start their third year of blogging about the series, which is underwritten by the School of Nursing and the VUSN Nurse-Midwives Practice.
“I enjoy watching and writing about the show because it brings up memories of beautiful births or experiences I had with patients,” Diaz said. “I think it’s family friendly and really heartwarming. It shows lots of love and hope.”
Though the show is set in 1950s and 1960s London’s East End, there are parallels between what happens in the plot and what today’s real-life midwives experience.
“Midwifery is that perfect combination of medical science and really connecting with people,” Diaz said, adding that the show offers an accurate portrayal of the situations she encounters and of the relationships she builds with clients.
The job is about building trust so that patients receive the best care possible.
“We do a lot of talking, coaching and listening—from the very first visit—to help people make informed decisions about all aspects of their care,” Virostko said, explaining how midwifery differs from working with other healthcare providers.
Sometimes building a relationship means working through concerns in a way that keeps everyone safe.
“On the show, the midwives have difficult conversations with patients who don’t want to be in the maternity home,” Virostko said. “They find ways to offer care and keep each patient a little safer than they would have been without the midwives involved. In our careers, we find ways for people to feel heard and still get a plan in place to keep the mom and baby safe.”
The televisions series also offers a glimpse into what it’s like to be a midwife.
“In terms of a profession that’s kind of mysterious and not universally understood, I think this show is a great depiction of our work,” Virostko said, adding that, although most of today’s midwives practice in hospitals, the series accurately presents the disease, trauma and physical work she encounters in her job.
Those considering midwifery as a career can see what the learning experience is like and just how devoted they are to their trade and to the patients they serve.
“For someone who is not sure if they want to go down the path of being a midwife, the show can really be helpful to understand what it is like—the emotions of it…the demands of it,” Diaz said. “I think you absolutely have to have the heart for it.”
Call the Midwife, and blogging for the show, has helped Diaz and Virostko encounter a nationwide community as other bloggers and viewers in their field talk online about how their experiences relate to the show.
“It is really fun and valuable to have all of these voices online talking about the same storyline that’s fictional, but that we all approach in a similar way,” Virostko said. “The invitation to really engage with these episodes and give some thoughts to it is valuable in a way that it wouldn’t necessarily be for another show.”
As in real life, characters develop and learn from the challenges they face.
“I didn’t realize that I’d be helping people process loss,” Virostko said. “You go through school and you’re ready, kind of, but then grow up a lot through your job.”
Overall, Diaz and Virostko enjoy the show and its parallels to what they see daily in their careers.
“This show is so heartwarming,” Diaz said. “It reminds me of why I wanted to be a midwife and why I do what I do. Watching it and writing about it makes me remember why I love my job. It brings joy that way for sure.”
VUSN and the VUSN Nurse-Midwifery Faculty Practice have underwritten the beloved British television series since it first premiered on NPT in 2013. The series is now in its 11th season, and is consistently one of the most watched shows on NPT and on the BBC, which produces it. Call the Midwife airs at 7 p.m. on Sundays starting March 20 and running through May 8.