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Maja Dernaj is the first master of midwifery in Croatia

Ivona Cosic
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Maja Dernaj, a 27-year-old midwife from Razbojište, is the first master of midwifery in Croatia. At the beginning of July, the first of twenty-three enrolled colleagues graduated on the topic "Frequency of juvenile births from 2010-2020 in the General County Hospital in Našice." at the Faculty of Health Studies, University of Rijeka.

The midwife, says Maja, has always wanted to be because as a child she admired the stories of her mother, her friends and other women about childbirth. However, a special connection was born from the knowledge that her great-grandmother was a village midwife. Uneducated, learned from other trained women, she was the inspiration for today’s diploma.

The first and last generation of midwives since 2013.
Maja graduated from high school for midwives in Osijek in 2013, it was the first generation after 15 years, but also the last, because there has been no enrollment since then. After high school, she did an internship at the General County Hospital Našice and enrolled in undergraduate studies in Midwifery at the University Department of Health Studies, University of Split, and immediately after graduation she got a job at the Clinical Hospital Merkur as a bachelor midwife . However, her heart was drawn home and she soon returned to Slavonia where she works at the OŽB Našice, also as a midwife with a bachelor's degree. But she knew that this was not her end in education, although there were no further schools until 2019, when she enrolled as the first generation in the University Graduate Study of Midwifery at the Faculty of Health Studies, University of Rijeka.

"I have always wanted to be a midwife, because according to the stories of those closest to me, childbirth itself seemed like a magical moment for every woman, which is never forgotten," Maja told us, adding that it is not only a profession, but also a life calling. The midwife’s job today includes prevention, managing physiological pregnancy and childbirth, caring for and caring for the mother and newborn. All this is included in the numerous educations and counseling provided by midwives. They are not only in charge of work in the delivery room, but also jobs in gynecological departments, because they take care of all age groups of women, take care of women's sexual and reproductive health, but also participate in family planning and breastfeeding promotion. Midwives are also the only health professionals who are required by the Midwifery Act and the EU Directive to educate families and women on the physiology of pregnancy, childbirth, midwifery and breastfeeding.

"We are professionally responsible and reliable people who work in partnership with women, all in order to provide them with support, care and advice during pregnancy, childbirth and midwifery. All this carries a great responsibility and a professional approach. ” - Maja tells us. Through her work, she remembers both happy and difficult moments, when she adds it is important to recognize the different psychological states of the patient, to create a sense of trust in order to facilitate such situations - this is another characteristic of midwifery.


Midwives as part of the family
Maja does not count the babies born, because they are not a number, her most important goal is a living and healthy newborn, as well as a healthy and satisfied mother. "There were a lot of beautiful moments through the work, but I would still single out one. It's my cousin's birth. She and I in the delivery room, that little sister and I the big sister. There were laughter and tears, a lot of emotions. " - midwife Maja tells us. And she adds that it was a great honor for her to take care of every single woman, mother, who encounters a completely new life situation during childbirth. And precisely because he participates in such an intimate and important act, he often feels part of that, new, family.

Teamwork for the betterment of all
Midwives have always advocated humane childbirth, and much progress has been made in this area, so today women can choose the position that suits them best during labor and childbirth. In addition to all that, professional health personnel who provide quality and professional care are also important. "That's why teamwork between midwives and doctors is very important in terms of caring for a pregnant woman, a mother and a child." - notes Maja.

The future of midwifery
After completing the highest level of education for the profession of midwife in Croatia, Maja will continue to advocate for the recognition and independence of midwives. Because midwifery in Croatia is significantly different from Europe and the world, and we need to work on that. Unfortunately, the brake on everything is the lack of primary education, because undergraduate studies exist only in Split and Rijeka, so a small number of midwives decide to continue their education.

"I hope that my, that is, the effort and education of midwives will finally be recognized. And that is exactly what I would say to my future colleagues: "Follow your dreams, because if you really want something, you will succeed." - concludes the conversation with the first master of midwifery in Croatia, Maja Dernaj, with a message to all pregnant women: “Believe in yourself. Although pain is a constant and eternal companion of childbirth, there is nothing that an informed and ready woman cannot overcome for her future, that is, her child. And there is a saying, women and midwives are two sides of the same coin and they can't do without each other. ”


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