Midwives play a crucial role in caring for women and babies through pregnancy and both during and after childbirth. A midwife is a caring and compassionate medical professional who has to use their extensive training and natural warm persona to support women.
Midwifery degree courses
There are two routes of entry to becoming a midwife. As an undergraduate, there are numerous midwifery degree courses across the country to which you can apply. Degrees in midwifery combine both theory with practice. This means plenty of classroom based learning in the traditional university style. The course is generally taught over a period of three years and is a full time course.
You will be expected to attend lectures and additional seminars as you would with any other discipline. In addition to this, there is ample opportunity for hands on practice which is fully supervised by qualified midwives. The split between the two is normally 50:50.
In the beginning you may simply observe the work of midwives and shadow them during a normal day’s work. With experience, you will be encouraged to take a more practical approach and become involved in the work of other midwives with the consent of the woman involved.
This could involve taking a patient history and recording notes in medical files. You may be invited to examine a pregnant woman during antenatal appointments and even be present during a birth. Midwives also visit new mums at home during the first few weeks following delivery and you could be asked to accompany a midwife during these trips.
Most clinics, hospitals and community based services have links with universities and academic institutions and readily and easily accommodate student midwives. As a result, many mums to be become accustomed to their presence and have no problem with being cared for by a student midwife.
At the end of the degree course, you will not only receive an academic qualification but also be awarded with a professional qualification. Successful achievement of these allows you to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. It is this which subsequently allows you to practice as a fully fledged midwife in the UK.
Short courses for qualified nurses
If you are already a qualified nurse, there is alternative route of entry. Instead of embarking upon a three year course, you can study over a period of at least 78 weeks, based on a full time programme. There may also be scope for part time study at some institutions. The mode of study is similar to the degree entry route with a part theory and part practical approach and the outcome is the same in as much as you will be rewarded academically and professionally.
Midwifery is a very rewarding career choice, however, you will need to regularly update your skills and knowledge through continual professional development. This is a requirement of your registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and necessary to ensure that you are fully up to date with the latest developments and guidelines.
Once you have obtained your qualifications it’s time to job hunt. A great place to find jobs is on the Nuffield Health Careers website. They specialise in health careers so always have the latest offerings available in the industry.