As a child growing up in a bustling household with 10 siblings, Sr Annabel Loseman discovered her passion for nursing and the religious order. With a sister who was a nurse and a brother who became a Catholic priest, she was inspired by their dedication and sought to follow in their footsteps.
“My family’s commitment to service and faith showed me the path I wanted to take,” she recalls. And so began Sr Annabel’s journey towards a life of service and devotion.
In 2003, Sr Annabel was accepted into the Missionary of the Sacred Heart, a missionary congregation in the Catholic Church.
In 2013 she applied to St Mary’s School of Nursing and obtained a Diploma in General Nursing and served at the St Mary’s Vunapope Hospital.
“I was largely involved in outpatient and theatre as a scout assisting doctors and senior nurses,” she says.”
It was during this time that Sr Annabel’s passion for midwifery began to take shape, eventually leading her to pursue further education and training in this area.
It was a day like any other at St Mary’s Vunapope Hospital, until a mother in labour arrived in need of urgent medical attention.
“I remember it vividly,” Sr Annabel begins. “The mother was referred to the theatre for a Caesarean section, and I was assisting the doctor on duty. We worked quickly and efficiently, and thankfully the procedure was successful. Both the mother and baby were then transferred to the recovery ward.”
But the joy of a new life entering the world was soon overshadowed by tragedy. “The next day, we received devastating news,” Sr Annabel continues. “The mother had been rushed to the emergency room in the early hours of the morning and had passed away.”
The experience left a profound impact on Sr Annabel. She was struck by the realization that even with modern medical advancements, childbirth could still be a risky and life-threatening process for many women, particularly in rural areas with limited access to healthcare.
“It was a wake-up call for me,” she says. “I knew then that I wanted to dedicate my life to improving maternal healthcare, and that’s what led me to pursue midwifery studies.”
In 2021, Sr Annabel received an Australia Awards Scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Midwifery at the University of Goroka. “I put my head down and achieved what I set out to do. In my recent graduation, I received the PNG-Australia Partnership Award for Academic Excellence. This, too, was a token of appreciation – the achievement was my way of showing my gratitude to the Australian Government for providing the scholarship to me,” she says.
“Being a midwife is about servitude,” she explains. “It’s about being there for the mother and child, to support and guide them through one of the most miraculous moments of life.”
As she begins her work as a midwife at the hospital, Sr Annabel is eager to apply the knowledge and skills she has acquired through her studies. “I am now a nun and a midwife. It is truly remarkable,” she says with a smile.