Emotions ran high at Orange Hospital on Wednesday afternoon as Torie Finnane - the much-adored 34-year-old midwife who died after giving birth in December last year - was named as the hospital's midwife of the year.
Director of nursing Jo Dean made a heartfelt tribute to Mrs Finnane in front of her husband Liam, their three children Oliver, Elke and Maisie, and dozens of midwives who worked with Mrs Finnane.
"Torie would've won the award whether she was here or not - it was well-deserved," said Ms Dean after the presentation.
She said compassion, and a good understanding of midwifery and "the woman's wishes" were key to being a successful midwife.
"People have a right to birth how they want to," she said.
"Torie could hold their hand and walk them through midwifery - it felt like she was your friend and your partner throughout the whole birth."
She said the midwifery unit "still struggles every day".
"She was a huge part of this unit," Ms Dean said.
"We get through with a supportive network, we support each other, and we have resources and help from the [health] district."
May 5 is International Midwives Day, while May 12 is International Nurses Day.
Purple is the colour of midwifery, and ahead of the announcement of Mrs Finnane as midwife of the year, dozens of midwives went on a 2km walk while holding purple balloons.
About 50 midwives work at Orange Hospital filling the equivalent of about 35 full-time positions.
"Our nurses and midwives have been agile, resourceful and shown skill, compassion and professionalism in challenging times - I would like to personally say thank you to each and everyone one of them for the critical work they do and the difference they make each and every day," said NSW chief nursing and midwifery officer Jacqui Cross.
Over the next two weeks throughout the Western NSW Local Health District morning tea celebrations will be held to honour the work of nurses and midwives.
"It is fitting we celebrate our nurses and midwives and take the time to recognise their round-the-clock commitment, providing a vital contribution to the health and well-being of us all," she added.
After the tribute to midwives and Mrs Finnane, a cake was cut and shared.
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