Shadowing a DoctorSeptember 3, 2014
Diverse range of settings for midwives
Being a midwife is a unique role that is demanding and carries plenty of responsibility. Midwives are not just restricted to caring for individual expectant mothers. An increasing number of midwives now work in the community, providing essential services in a range of settings, from local clinics and GP surgeries to women’s homes and children’s centres. Working in a hospital is still the most predominant, where plenty of opportunities exist for midwives to work in a vast range of settings, from antenatal, postnatal and labour wards to neonatal units.
Qualifications & training requirements
To become a midwife you have to first complete your professional education at degree level. Some midwives may be qualified nurses who have elected to change career direction and undertake the additional courses that are necessary to be registered as a midwife. Others may begin their career by working their way up via diverse roles, such as support roles that do not require any formal qualifications, before going on to study for a registered midwifery degree.
In the UK, you can either complete an approved midwifery degree course or you can take a midwifery short programme. Both of these routes lead to registration with the NMC or the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Registration with the NMC is essential to be able to practice as a midwife.
These degree and short courses are known as pre-registration programmes.
Midwifery degree programme
- Midwifery degree programmes are typically three years in length and studied on a full-time basis.
- Students who choose to do a midwifery degree programme are awarded both an academic and a professional qualification, through a combined study of theory and supervised midwifery practice.
- 50% of the programme consists of supervised midwifery practice, which takes place in hospital and community settings, including labour wards, antenatal clinics and wards, neonatal care and postnatal wards.
Midwifery short programme
- Midwifery short programmes are for qualified and registered adult nurses who wish to do a career switch and train as midwives.
- On completion, students are awarded both an academic and a professional qualification, through combined study of theory and supervised midwifery practice.
- The duration of short programmes is a minimum of 78 weeks with full-time study. Very few universities may offer part-time study options for short programmes.
- Supervised midwifery practice takes place in both hospital as well as community.
Once you’ve successfully completed your pre-registration programme and registered with the NMC, you are considered fully qualified to work as a midwife. With some experience, you can look to develop your career further. This may involve further study and training to keep up to date with rapidly advancing technology and a constantly changing healthcare landscape. This will be required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and encouraged by your employer.