Midwifery is a challenging career with emotional highs and lows. Challenges are to be expected but more importantly is the ability to work with empathy, supporting women through childbirth, and being a core part of a team of health care professionals, working together for the safe delivery of every newborn baby. With a shortage in qualified midwives within the NHS, and the baby boom continuing to grow, it’s expected that for those with the right qualifications and continued education, there will be constant demand for your skills and work you’re qualified to do.
An estimated 30’000 babies are born into the world every year, and when you become a midwife, you’ll be the person who is each babies first “catch”; as they call it in the profession.
The first catch will be the highlight of your career, and an experience you’ll be unlikely to forget. That’s on the clinical side of the job though. There are other opportunities for midwives away from maternity units, as you can work in local community health care clinics, advising women on post-natal care (up to four weeks after birth), parenting advice, and taking care of babies in their early years.
Pre-natal care is another area you could choose to work, advising both parents, and sometimes single parents too, on the early signs of labour, what to have packed for their overnight bags, and how birthing partners can assist during the labour process, as well as discussing what their birthing options are, such as water birth, caesareans, at home births etc.
As health clinics are run during the day, this might be something to consider if you require a career you can balance other issues such as your own family. Pre-natal clinics are often run in the evenings so that working couples, and/or single expectant mothers and supporting birth partners can attend together.
You can find part-time vacancies solely focusing on parental and birthing education, involving demonstrations of nappy changing, dealing with rashes, checking for meningitis and other health issues new parents need to be aware of. Post-natal care will be in local health clinics mostly, using during practice hours (9 -5) ,with full and part-time vacancies available. Some positions may require you to travel to peoples home too.
For those who choose to work in the front line of midwifery, working in maternity units assisting during birth, there will be shift work involved, and sometimes long hours too. Not every delivery goes to plan, and you can find yourself waiting with someone when they’re labour runs longer than expected. You will need patience, and the one you cannot do is be judgemental. You’ll be working with women from all walks of life. Different classes, economic status within society, different races and ages, and irrespective of any of that, you cannot be judgemental.
The ability to establish positive relationships with all your patients will be required, as you’ll be the support to every soon-to-be mum, looking to you to extend your helping hand, and support them through the most memorable times of their life.
The training involved to become a midwife can potentially take up to 5 years and therefore is considered by many as one of the toughest courses among healthcare subjects.
There are several routes to go, but the most common way to become a fully trained midwife is to undertake a 32 month vocational course followed sometimes by an 18 month nurse convention course. The teaching for the vocational course is part classroom based and part work placement based – in conjunction with local hospitals.
It is also possible to train part-time to become a midwife. This way you can fit your training in around your other work and family commitments. Most universities that offer full time midwifery courses also have part-time pre registration courses.
These courses last for a period of about five to six years and are open to people who work in the NHS with qualifications up to NVQ level 3. As a part time student you would be employed by the NHS making it easier to get the necessary time off to complete the course.
There are several ways to get a place on a midwifery training course. You can enter if you have the relevant qualifications such as good A-Level results or you may already be working already as a healthcare assistant or similar and can pass the relevant universities academic tests.
Alternatively if you are already a qualified nurse you may opt for a fast tracked pre-registration course which lasts for only 18 months.
Training for a career as a midwife you will benefit from plenty of flexibility and support which the NHS offers in abundance throughout your entire career.
Midwife jobs can be hard work, but ultimately very enjoyable and therefore are always quite sought after. Fortunately there is always a high demand for midwives, especially during times of economic difficulty. Before you can become a midwife you must have the relevant qualifications (see below).
Once you become a fully qualified midwife you are free to apply for midwife positions across the breadth of the NHS including community midwife positions. Many also go on to take further training and become health visitors.
Either way as a midwife you will have plenty of career options available to you in addition to the comfort provided by being in an industry where there is constant demand.
To apply for midwife jobs you must hold a pre-registration qualification in midwifery and be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
To receive the relevant training you must meet the specific Universities entry requirements which are usually at least 5 GCSE’s and 2 A-Levels.
To get a place on a midwifery course you must be able to display competency ion both literacy and numeracy skills.
As a newly qualified midwife your salary starts in the region of £19k per annum.
In addition, if you are on-call or working unsocial hours you can expect to earn more (as a midwife you will be expected to work unsociable shifts).
There is also opportunity to boost your wages with overtime. An experienced midwife has the opportunity to earn in excess of £50k per annum.