Shadowing a DoctorApril 14, 2014
Becoming A Midwife: Is It For You?
Midwives take on the responsibility of caring for women from the time when they first discover they are pregnant to when their babies are at least 4 weeks old. Midwives carry out clinical examinations, provide information, advice and support and keep records of the mother and baby’s progress.
Most midwives in the UK work for the NHS in a hospital. Other employers include private hospitals, birth centres and small maternity units. Some midwives are self-employed, working as independent midwives either on their own or as part of a group practice.
Midwifery training in the UK is considered throughout the world to be of a high standard.
Is midwifery for you?
Midwifery does not suit everyone. It is a physically and emotionally demanding job, with a high level of responsibility. Midwives care for women during what can be one of the most stressful, painful and life-changing experiences. To be able to handle the job, you need to possess a few specific skills and character traits including:
Be helpful, caring and non-judgemental
Have excellent communication skills
Be intuitive, patient and empathetic
Remain calm and efficient under pressure
React quickly and effectively in an emergency
Take responsibility for your actions
Work well on your own and as part of a team
If you have all of the above traits, then you are likely to be a great midwife.
How to become a midwife in the UK
If you have had no previous experience working in healthcare, you will have to do a 3 or 4 year degree course that leads to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
The training covers biological sciences, psychology, applied sociology, and professional practice. The practical part of the course involves having direct contact with women and their families across various settings in hospitals, community clinics and in their homes.
The entry requirements for midwifery degree courses are usually a minimum of two A levels, preferably in science subjects or an equivalent access to higher education qualification.
Qualified nurses can apply for a full-time, 18-month post-registration shortened course or you can carry on working while you take a 5 or 6 year part-time course. If you come from a healthcare background, you are likely to find your previous experience valuable for midwifery.
Applications for midwifery training are made through UCAS and submitted during the autumn of the year before you would like to start training.
After obtaining your midwifery qualification, you could work for the NHS in a hospital or birthing centre or you might prefer to work independently or as part of a team in a private maternity unit. If night shifts aren’t for you, you could choose to work during the day as a community midwife. You could also choose to stay in academia, working in education or research.
Wherever you end up, your journey as a midwife is likely to be incredibly rewarding.