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WELLBEING AND RESILIENCE 1. The resilient midwife    

Rebecca Knapp

Midwife at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


 (March 2017)

Midwifery is one of the most emotional and emotive of all the health care professions. In order to be ‘with woman’, we give a part of ourselves to every woman that we care for. Such reciprocity is essential to create a relationship that will maximise a woman’s birth experience (Hunter 2006). This relationship between the woman and midwife is considered to be one of the key elements in job satisfaction, as it emulates the very essence of being with woman. In order to meet the emotional needs of a woman, the emotional involvement of the midwife is needed (Rothschild 2006); thus there is a potential emotional cost associated with care provision. This article is the first in a series of six articles looking at the maintenance and promotion of midwives’ own wellbeing and resilience. The series will cover these topics: the resilient midwife, the mindful midwife, the self-compassionate midwife, the assertive midwife, the acknowledging midwife and the relational midwife. All are aimed at embracing and encouraging a midwife’s own wellbeing and resilience.

Non-verbal communication skills for enhancing midwifery practice

Meg Hitchick

Third year Student Midwife at the University of Western Sydney

 (January 2017)

Midwives and others who care for childbearing women use their eyes to observe, but also to communicate. As practitioners, we become skilled at noticing details about women and babies that improve our care of them, while also becoming comfortable with an acceptance of the hidden aspects of pregnancy and birth. Equally important for midwives is using the language of the eyes to provide reassurance and comfort in both everyday and critical situations.

Mothers in immigration detention: the most vulnerable and the hardest to reach

Phoebe Pallotti

Lecturer in Maternal Care at the University of Leeds

Morag Forbes

Family Nurse at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

 (December 2016)

Phoebe Pallotti and Morag Forbes are two experienced midwives who volunteered for a charity that works for the health rights of people in immigration detention. They both have other experience of this client group and they both hold diplomas in Tropical Midwifery. Over more than three years, Phoebe and Morag have been visiting and calling on pregnant women in immigration detention, most often in the infamous detention centre, Yarl’s Wood, in Bedfordshire, where a recent Channel Four documentary was secretly filmed. The centre has a small health care facility, but there are no midwifery staff employed there, though women were often referred to the local maternity unit. This article explores the situations of the pregnant women who are detained in the UK and considers how they may better be supported.

The transition from student to newly qualified midwife

Ellie Walledge

Midwife at Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley

Alison Arrowsmith

Midwife at St Michael's Hospital in Bristol

 (October 2016)

Ellie Walledge and Alison Arrowsmith qualified in 2015, during a time of massive uncertainty within NHS maternity services. One year on, they are keen to share their experiences to help the next generation of midwives survive their first year. This article provides much-needed and long-awaited guidance on preparing for the transition from student to midwife, helping newly qualified midwives avoid some of the pitfalls of being inadequately prepared. The authors conclude that, by putting a few well-judged strategies in place, newly qualified midwives can not only survive their first year, but lay the foundations for a long and happy career.

Serving time: are band 5 midwives too ‘new’ to do community?

Shelly Jones

Lead Midwife at South Powys Public Health Powys Teaching Health Board

Cate Langley

Head of Midwifery and Sexual Health Services

Powys Teaching Health Board, Victoria Memorial Hospital, Welshpool

Marie Lewis

Practice Development Midwife

Powys Teaching Health Board, Victoria Memorial Hospital, Welshpool

 (September 2016)

Powys Maternity service is a completely midwife-led community service; there is no District General Hospital (DGH) within the county, but six free-standing midwife-led units. Midwives work within the community and birth centres. Historically we based the criteria for midwives to be able to work in this setting on a minimum of two years’ post-qualification experience. However, after struggling to find midwives who were sufficiently experienced to work independently in the community and focus on promoting normality, we decided to change our criteria and support newly qualified midwives to work in the community. In this article we share three perspectives on both the positive impact this can have and the challenges of supporting it.

Finding your style

Shelly Jones

Lead Midwife at South Powys Public Health Powys Teaching Health Board

 (September 2016)

An understanding of learning styles can aid in assessing the best methods for studying, teaching and facilitation. Consideration should be given to this, when planning activities for students in university or the placement setting, although learning styles may alter according to the environment where a student is placed. It would be advantageous for students to be aware of their preferred style, to enable them to benefit in the best way from their training. Midwifery mentors may feel confident in teaching skills to students within the practice setting on an individual basis but, if faced with teaching a group of students or parents-to-be, it can prove a challenge deciding which approach is best to take, given that learners will have varying styles and needs.

Being with woman: claiming midwifery space

Louise Hunter

Senior lecturer in midwifery at Oxford Brookes University

 (March 2015)

Being ‘with woman’ is characterised as presence, a spiritual concept which is nevertheless bound up with physical space. In this article, the work of the American philosopher Judith Butler is used to explore the interplay between space and relationships in midwifery practice. Butler argues that relationships based on mutual recognition and respect define the actions possible within physical space. In midwifery, being with woman creates a therapeutic space necessary for the wellbeing and empowerment of women and midwives alike.