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April 4, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About the Role of a Midwife

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Shot of newborn baby right after delivery

What do midwives do?

Midwives provide care and advice for women and their babies during pregnancy, labour and the post-natal period. The job can be challenging, rewarding, demanding and exciting all at the same time.

As licensed professionals, midwives, much like nurses and physicians need to undergo rigorous training to make sure they are prepared for this important caring role. But not to worry, as a three-year midwifery degree programme should more than prepare you for the career you are about to embark on. To give you an idea of what it’s like to become a midwife, here are some of the roles and responsibilities of a midwife:

  • To perform gynaecological examinations on expectant mothers.
  • To assist all parents with preconception planning.
  • To provide care for mothers and unborn children during pregnancy.
  • To guide the mother through labour and delivery, ensuring the safety of the child.
  • To offer information and guidance on breastfeeding and looking after the newborn.
  • Midwives are also often left to address a wealth of sensitive issues like domestic abuse, bereavement, or intimacy and sexual health issues.

In addition, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) provides: “Midwifery care takes place in partnership with women and is personalised, continuous and non-authoritarian. Midwifery care empowers women to assume responsibility for their health and for the health of their families.”

baby at the age of 4 days

Worth noting that midwives are often left to address a wealth of sensitive issues to address like domestic abuse, bereavement, or intimacy and sexual health issues.

What skills do you need to be a midwife?

In order to be a midwife, you must have:

  • The ability to work under stress: As the main caregivers for women and their newborns, midwives face the daily pressure of delivering a high quality, safe service. Sometimes, they must work in understaffed conditions with an increased birth rate. The job also allows little room for mistakes, and a midwife’s judgement sometimes makes the difference between life and death.
  • The ability to evaluate research: Midwives need to be able to evaluate information and apply to practical situations, often under pressure.
  • Emotional resilience: It is essential for midwives to manage their emotions in front of families. They must also be tactful enough to tackle sensitive matters during birthing or post-natal care.
  • Excellent teamwork skills: To be able to liaise with medical professionals as well as being able to work effectively with expectant families.
  • Good decision-making skills: The ability to reflect quickly on information, sometimes incomplete, and make clinical decisions on a balance of intuition and rationality.
  • Good communication skills: The ability to communicate with a diverse range of women, offering information clearly, regardless of their background or circumstances.

pregnant woman with midwife

Which course will you need to study with Stonebridge?

Access to Higher Education Diploma

Our Access to Higher Education Diplomas (Health) Midwifery Pathway helps students to meet the entry requirements for most university midwifery courses. The course at Stonebridge Associated Colleges offers you the possibility to study at home and follow your own schedule without the pressure of having to attend classes. The course covers:

  • Contemporary health issues.
  • Approaches to health.
  • Human reproduction, growth and development.
  • The roles and responsibilities of health care professionals.

The course will help you to meet midwifery course requirements and successfully apply to university.

What other related courses do we offer?

If you have not yet decided whether midwifery is the right choice for you, you can take your time to browse through the various health-related courses we have to offer.

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Health) General Pathway

This course will offer you a good insight into the world of health science while preparing you for university. With a general curriculum, this is ideal for students looking for a foundation in health without committing to any particular pathway.

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Health) Nursing Pathway

For those who might prefer nursing, there is the option to study this Access course which enables you to go to university for a nursing degree. If later on, you decide to specialise as a midwife, plenty of universities offer shortened courses to qualify in midwifery.

Midwife word cloud

What will you need to do after the course?

After successfully completing the Access to HE Diploma, you should choose a university degree that has been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

A midwifery degree lasts three years and includes clinical placements for hands-on experience. For those with previous qualifications in nursing, there is the option of an accelerated program.

The Council also requires any student midwives to take a criminal record check with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). If the program also includes “caring for or being in charge of children” you will also need to undertake a Protection of Children Act List check, before your clinical placement. Criminal convictions or police cautions do not automatically discount you from working in the NHS. Each case takes into account all relevant circumstances.

What kind of salary can I earn?

  • If you work for the NHS, you would be on a fixed pay scale. Newly qualified midwives are set at Band 5, with a starting salary of £22,000.
  • Band 6 ranges from 26,250 to £34,876, while on a more senior level you could be managing a team and find yourself on Band 7 which ranges from £41,000.
  • Among the highest positions are consultant midwives where salaries start on Band 8a, between £41,000 and £48,000.

What are the benefits of this role?

Shaping policy: midwives are in an excellent position to participate in policy discussions, educate and influence decision-makers along the way.

The sense of accomplishment: whether it is bringing new life into the world or working with a mother and supporting her in achieving personal goals. Midwifery can be deeply empowering and rewarding.

Emotional depth: the midwife vocation has so many emotional dimensions, that it turns every day into a new learning experience.

Remuneration: perhaps not as important as the sense of pride you get when you make a difference to someone’s life, but the financial aspect still plays a big part in job satisfaction. Midwives remain among the best paid nursing careers.

Finally, midwifery is what you make of it, with the weight and joy of what bringing new life into the world means.

Newborn baby

Distance learning vs. classroom learning

Starting your journey towards an exciting and rewarding career does not need to involve too much sacrifice. Distance learning courses are a popular option for people with important family and work commitments. Taking the course online brings many benefits:

Travelling: You can save time and money on travelling. Especially when not all courses are easily accessible, and you may find your local college does not cover the specific classes you want.

No pressure or delays: Every student has a different learning capacity. Some faster, others slower. There is no right or wrong. It’s only about your own expectations and how you want to achieve them. Either way, the courses at Stonebridge Associated Colleges allow you to accommodate your own study pace, without pressures or delays.

Payment arrangements: Distance learning offers you the possibility to plan your own schedule and the option to pay in manageable monthly payments to make it more affordable.

Independent study: Planning your own study time and setting personal deadlines, as well as breaking down the tasks, with the support of tutors, teaches you the independence that will become more and more useful as you progress in higher education.

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