In October 2006 I tentatively jumped in to my new role as a newly qualified midwife. Three years of university education, 40 births and many different midwifery experiences all led to stepping foot on the ward as a NMC registered midwife. No clinical mentor to fall back on, no university lecturer to question. The sense of achievement at completing the training, pride in my new profession and nerves at ‘going it alone’ were all buried below a crisp new uniform and big fat smile.
Those first few years were daunting, but I learnt so much. I was lucky enough to work in different areas of midwifery. I made lasting friendships and admired many different colleagues for their skills, picking up new tips as I went.
Fast forward a few years, a move to the bright lights of our capital city ensured I continued my professional journey through midwifery. Over the years I have had the chance to help and guide women through different types of pregnancies and births. I have held different roles within the NHS including educating maternity staff and managing clinical areas. I even had the chance to work abroad in South Africa for a short while.
Of course the professional opportunities were not the only reason to relocate to London. Places to explore, people to meet and everyone wanted to know the same thing.
‘What do you do?’
They would ask in the bar, in the hair salon, when out for lunch. Each time I would struggle to answer their question, because being a midwife isn’t a job you ‘do’. It is a part of who you are. Its weird hours dictate your social life, the long shifts often ruin any chance of regular meal times and the physical nature of the job removes any desire to wear stylish shoes.
‘I’m a Midwife’
I would proudly reply. My job is a much a part of me as my eye colour and my love of chocolate. Supporting new families through pregnancy, birth and those hazy first few days with a newborn is a privilege and a joy. And my favourite part of the role? Being there at the point of birth. Because watching as a baby is born into this world is amazing, but watching the birth of a mother is indescribable.
My top tips for Newly Qualified Midwives
1. Have confidence in your new skills.
Your mentor believed in you, you have gained a wealth of experience over the last three years and now hold a professional qualification in Midwifery.
2. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
You are not working alone – and no one thinks your questions are silly. You have a lot of knowledge at your finger tips. Look to your colleagues; midwives. obstetricians, pharmacists, physiotherapists, health care assistants, doulas and anyone else you may come across. You will continue to learn something everyday of your career
3. Remember why you wanted to be a midwife.
The NHS can be a draining place to work; it’s busy, understaffed and stretched in every way imaginable. The frustration at not being able to provide the level of care you dreamt of can become overwhelming. In those moments try to remember that you are making a difference to those women and families you care for
4. Listen to the women.
The families you care for will explain the journey they’ve been on. It will help you understand their experiences, emotions and aid you to advice them to the best of your ability
5. Put yourself forward for new midwifery experiences.
Don’t shy away from complicated cases, difficult scenarios or tricky procedures. Ask to get involved, observe situations because when you’re new everyone is keen to support you
I am a firm believer in positivity. Smiles are infectious and can brighten up everyone’s day.
Are you thinking about joining the midwifery profession? Let me know how your application is going.