If you looking for a change of career which is hands on and extremely rewarding, then you might be interested in training to become a midwife. Midwifery isn’t just about helping women to deliver their babies, it’s also about being the main point of contact for a woman from the time she finds out she is pregnant through to her having her baby and for a few weeks afterwards. It’s also about providing invaluable information, which can help her make choices regarding options, and services open to her.
What is the main role of the job
The role is very wide ranging and will include carrying out clinical examinations, providing health information, and offering support throughout the pregnancy. It also involves keeping accurate records of the mother and baby’s progress and working in conjunction with other health services or social services as necessary.
The work environment
The majority of midwives in the UK work for the NHS within hospitals but some also work in private maternity hospitals, dedicated birth centres or within the community. Some even work on a self employed basis as independents, either as part of a group practice or on their own. They generally work as teams which means working day and night-time shifts. They may also have to travel between hospitals, and around the community, visiting new mothers at their homes.
What sort of qualities does midwifery require?
Good interpersonal skills
Sensitivity, sympathetic, and intuitive
A good team player who can also work alongside other professional bodies
Fast learner and not squeamish when faced with blood
Great hands on skills
Professional in their approach and able to main accurate records
How to become a midwife
In order to work for the NHS it is necessary to have a degree in midwifery. If you’re already a registered nurse then you need to complete a midwifery programme of pre-registration which will lead to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) that allows you to work in this profession. This consists of a full time 18-month course, which is a combination of theory and practice in hospitals and clinics.
If you have no previous experience in healthcare then you will have to take a three or four year degree course which leads to registration with the NMC. The training consists of a mixture of theory and practical work and you’ll have direct contact with pregnant women and their families in hospitals, community clinics and at their homes.
If you have some other experience in the healthcare profession, you can often continue working whilst taking a part time course which lasts five or six years.
To begin a midwifery course there are no standard entry requirements and it is down to the course provider to set their own criteria. You will, however, have to prove that you can work with numbers relating to volume, weight and length, as well as being able to add, subtract, divide and multiply, and have an understanding of decimals and fractions. You will also need to be able to read and understand English and be able to communicate effectively in writing.
In order to enrol for a pre-registration degree course you will need at least 5 GCSE’s of a C grade or above and two A levels or the equivalent, preferably in science related subjects.
How much will I earn?
As a newly qualified midwife you can expect to earn around £19,000 – £26,000 and you will earn more if working unsociable hours or if you’re on-call. As you further your career and gain more experience, you could anything above £59,000 per annum.
Becoming a midwife compares with your first love, since it is said that no matter how many babies you deliver, you never forget the first one that you ‘catch’. The hours can be long, after all a baby only comes when it is ready, but the satisfaction and reward for each successful delivery is immense.