Shadowing a DoctorMay 7, 2014
Qualifying As A Midwife
To qualify as a midwife, you first need to obtain a degree in midwifery which leads to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Irrespective of which school you study in, a midwifery degree course is typically split between theory and clinicals, with a minimum 40% theory and a maximum 60% clinicals. The degree course is three years in length. During the course, your time will be split between the university and practical placements in hospitals as well as the community, where you’ll begin to work under the supervision of qualified health professionals.
Qualified nurses who have specialised in adult nursing can take an accelerated course in midwifery, which takes 78 weeks or 18 months to complete.
Bird’s eye-view of a career in midwifery in the UK
Midwifery today is a much sought-after career with excellent financial rewards and tremendous employment prospects in the UK as well as overseas.
Midwives provide care and support to women and their families right through pregnancy, from the time of conception to childbirth and for up to 28 days after the birth. They guide women in making the right choices during their pregnancy and the birth and help women to have the birthing experience of their choice.
For most women, pregnancy and birth proceed normally without any problems. However, some women do experience difficult pregnancies and deliveries and midwives must be equipped to deal with all types of pregnancy related problems and provide the intense emotional support and care needed at these times.
The majority of midwives in the UK work in the NHS, in hospital environments or in the community working alongside GPs, social workers and district nurses. They may also work in partnership with obstetricians and paediatricians. Some midwives may choose to practise independently or to work in private maternity hospitals.
Necessary skills and qualities for midwives
In addition to your basic training, there are a few skills and qualities that are necessary for anyone choosing to follow this career path:
Outstanding people skills: The pregnant women you are dealing with may come from all sorts of backgrounds and life stages. You need excellent people skills to be able to provide the necessary support to this diverse range of women during one of the most emotionally charged times in their lives. You also need to be able to stay alert and calm in times of stress and help your patients to feel confident and to stay focused and in control, no matter what.
Communication skills: Good communication skills are essential to provide much-needed reassurance and counselling during times of high stress. You will need to advise women, lay out the options available to them and help them make informed choices about their care depending on their individual situation.
Professional expertise: As a midwife you will need to have in-depth knowledge and understanding of foetal and child development. While the majority of pregnancies and births will proceed normally with the minimum of medical intervention, you will need to be able to recognise when the mother or her baby is at risk and know when to intervene for their health and safety.
Good team player: As a midwife you will usually work as part of a multi-disciplinary team, liaising with GPs, social workers and other health visitors.
Funding for midwifery tuition
Eligible students who are accepted into approved courses will usually have their tuition fees paid in full. Students on the 3-year degree course can apply for a means-tested bursary. Those on the 78-week shortened course would already be receiving salaries as qualified nurses.