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Kara Dent, Consultant Obstetrician

What is your role?

I work with women who are at high risk throughout a pregnancy. I can start to see them from before they are even pregnant. They might have conditions like diabetes, renal issues or chronic illness; anything which might complicate a birth and cause high risk.

I will see patients throughout the whole process of pregnancy making sure they are on the right medication because some medication is not right for pregnancy. I also work on call for any emergencies which could occur throughout birth. These may be women who have not been in hospital before, who have been brought in by ambulance from home. It might be a baby’s falling heart rate, a bleed; any urgent complications, I work to try and solve.

Why did you want to do this job?

I didn’t actually mean to do obstetrics; I started out training to be a GP but as part of my rotation I worked in obstetrics and loved it. It was working in labour ward, it was helping deliver babies, it was never the same and a bit like A&E in that way.

Working in the high risk speciality as I do, I build very close relationships with the women I see. Quite often they have lost babies in the past so there is a real emotional aspect to their pregnancy, trying again. It means you get quite close, they remember you. I have a wall in my office which is full of baby photos. People write to me to tell me how their children are doing; that’s the whole kick of the job.

I have been doing this for 20 years now. A good doctor listens to patients and communicates well. When someone goes home healthy and happy then you have done your job; it can be made that simple. But how you achieve that is the important thing. Knowing what you can and can’t treat is important. You may not be able to treat something, or achieve the perfect outcome but you must always remember that there is something you can do, something else, some way of making things better.

But you can’t do this alone. The team you work within allows you to do your job. If there is an emergency and I am called I need to give clear, direct instruction to different team members, who you then trust will carry that out quickly and well. The feeling of this team working together to help someone in an emergency is incredible.

What do you like about working for UHDB Trust?

We have got very good relationships across the whole maternity area. Our neonatal unit is excellent and works very closely with the labour ward. Our birth centre is really beautiful and there is a warmth among staff; they’re happy to be working here.

There is great training available to staff.