International Day of the Midwife: what we learned from being midwives during Covid
Today (5 May) we celebrate International Day of the Midwife and the amazing contribution to patient care our midwives make day in day out.
Our midwives have worked above and beyond during the Covid-19 to make services as safe as possible for patients, partners and colleagues.
We asked our midwives about what they’ve learnt about themselves and their profession over the last year and their advice to people looking to careers in midwifery.
We start with mother and daughter duo Tracey Miller and Kym Tufnell.
Tracey, who is Team Leader in the Midwifery Led Birthing Unit, said: “I have been a nurse/midwife since 1985 when I started my training in South Africa. I have worked as a midwife at NNUH since 2003. I chose the career when I was very young and have been fortunate enough to love what I do for the last 36 years. The comradery within NNUH maternity and neonatal services is what I appreciate most here.”
“Over the course of the pandemic, I have been appreciative of having an essential job to enable me to work throughout. Life goes on and, other than extra PPE, maternity has remained, for the most part, thankfully unchanged.”
Tracey’s message to those wanting to become midwives is: “Midwifery is more than a job; it is a part of who you are as a person. It remains an absolute privilege to play a role in the most important event of a couple’s life. To care, support, empower and share that life experience never fails to make it the most rewarding job that I can ever imagine doing.”
Her daughter Kym Tufnell started her training at University of East Anglia in 2010 after working as a maternity care assistant.
“Despite my mum being a midwife I’d never considered it. After working in various areas of the hospital as an healthcare assistant I did a bank shift on Delivery Suite and found an instant love for all things midwifery.
“I love that every day is so different and that we get to be a part of such an amazing time in people’s lives. Everyone’s situation is so different and it’s amazing to watch people’s journey. I have been lucky enough to spend the last few years on our wonderful Midwifery Led Birthing Unit (MLBU). That is where my true passion in midwifery lies. Empowering and advocating for women and families and supporting them when things go down a different path than they expected.
I love being part of amazing team. There is always someone to laugh and cry with, and to pick you up when you are feeling down. My message to anyone interested in midwifery is to absorb yourself in all things midwifery.”
Amanda Anderson, Delivery Suite Coordinator and Practice Development Midwife, said: “Being am midwife during a pandemic has cemented that I am resilient, resourceful, and a team player. We have all made sacrifices and changed our lives to keep the service going. I changed my role from a band 6 delivery suite midwife to practice development midwife at the very start of the pandemic, but maintained a bank contract and worked clinical shifts every week. I have learnt that this profession is strong and supportive of one another and the women and families in our care.
“We have an incredible team here. Our doctors, midwives, MCAs, admin and support staff are a fantastic team and good friends outside of work. Clinicians work and train together which helps build a strong team.”
Vickie Hastings, Community Midwifery Team Leader, said: “I learned how much I miss being a hands-on midwife when I needed to work from home for a while during the first lockdown – it has been such a big part of my life for 15 years. I also learned that our profession is incredibly resilient and midwives have an incredible ability to love and laugh their way through even the most challenging times. The team spirit is amazing.”
Suzy Hankinson, Midwife on Delivery Suite, added: “Personally, I learned that I am resilient, adaptable, and supportive. It was an incredibly difficult time working through the pandemic. But a woman giving birth to her child, whether she had Covid or not, still needed exceptional care, reassurance, and trust in her midwife and the team of midwives across the unit ensured this happened throughout those terrible months.
“We see each other at the highs and lows of life and the support we have for each other in incredible. There is always someone with an understanding smile and kind word if the shift is tough usually alongside an offer of a cuppa and a slice of cake!”