The accidental midwife with high task significance
In this interview from the ABC's "Conversations", Richard Fidler interviews Lisa Peberdy, a midwife who began her career quite accidentally and yet came over time and with support to love her job.
The interview provides a great example of the work characteristic of "task significance", which is when an individual feels they are making an important difference through their work. Lisa describes the joy she experiences each time she helps bring a new life into the world. The interview also highlights the importance of social support for helping individuals to cope with stressful work. Lisa describes how the emotional support of one of the senior nurses early in her career helped Lisa to deal with her first highly traumatic stillborn birth.
Lisa also provides an illustration of job crafting, which is when individuals design the work themselves, shaping and adjusting tasks and responsibilities to fit with one's skills and interests. In recent years Lisa has crafted her role to help create cord blood banks, collecting valuable stem cells from the umbilical cord and placenta. These cells may potentially be used later in that person's life to create and regenerate organs, blood, and tissues if that person ends up facing a blood-related disease like leukemia. Through Lisa creating opportunities to take on this expanded role, she has enhanced the meaning in her job even further.
Listen to the interview here.