So this year, I had the privilege once more of presenting seminar number 10 at the Maternity Midwifery and Baby Conference: London, 2015.
In 2013 I presented some work here on the digital future of maternity services, and I was happy to find that the conference still has the same feel of hope and vision for the future of maternity services.
It is a place to bring new innovations, new ideas and passion to the midwifery profession. I was enamored to see the lust for a bright future in new midwifery students, and also in awe of the wisdom and strong leadership shown by those in midwifery who see the big picture.
I led the seminar entitled Healthier midwives for healthier families: designing a solution to support midwives through psychologically traumatic professional events–>> See the podcast of my seminar here (You can also download the documents of my presentation here).
The most overwhelming part of the day was seeing the seminar room fill up with people and nearly spill out of the door to hear my presentation. This tells me that I do not share a passion for this subject alone. Far from it. Thank you for giving me the confidence I needed to reinforce my belief in this project. It is important, and I hope it will make a difference. Thank you also to those of you who volunteered to become involved in this research. I hope to contact you in the early autumn.
I am always keen to network and learn from others. This conference changed the way I view our ongoing maternity services. New challenges face the maternity services every day, and staff are only too keen to face that challenge. Yet it was sad to hear comments where those under pressure continue to speak negatively about leadership and management. This conversation needs to change.
The conference was led, driven and summarized by Sue Macdonald, Midwifery Consultant. I think we can all aspire to lead the way as she did at the conference. Her enthusiasm went viral.
The biggest lessons I learnt from this day was that midwives are midwives. Whether you are a labour ward midwife, a research midwife, lecturer, clinical manager or policy making midwife. You are a midwife, and that identity is important to you. Bernie Divall’s seminar made a real impact upon my own work as I move through my own doctoral research into the well being of midwives and look for what opportunities the future may have in store for me. We must support all midwives in what ever ‘midwifery path’ they choose to take. Whatever that path may be, they are still a midwife. Do you ever really stop being a midwife??? One thing is certain, there is no clear definition of what a good midwife actually is! (Borelli, 2014).
Therefore, we must continue to value the individual contribution each midwife makes towards the maternity services. No contribution is better or worse than the other, and no single contribution makes you any less of a midwife.
Clinically, I learnt so much from Stephanie Michaelides, Senior Lecturer , Middlesex University Did you know that sunflower oil is now recommended for the newborn skin rather than olive oil? I have downloaded her slides for future reference.
And then for pure inspirational visionary measure, we had the amazing Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Head of Maternity, NHS England Nursing Directorate -> Stretching midwifery horizons. I love her positive vision, motivational rhetoric and inclusive leadership style. I could listen and learn from her for hours.
Whilst Dianne Garland, Midwifery Consultant just shows us how midwifery should be. All of the time. All over the world. Global midwifery has always been a passion of mine as I look to see how other parts of the world deliver birth. Dianne takes this to another level as she works at a grass roots level to deliver and disseminate best practice. This reminded me of my own midwifery experiences in The Gambia and Ethiopia. I was fascinated to hear her speak about her experiences in China.
I very much hope to return to this conference again… next time I hope to have a new story to tell and a new part of this research to share. Until then, be kind to yourselves, and each other.
Borrelli, S. E. (2014). What is a good midwife? Insights from the literature.Midwifery, 30(1), 3-10.
By Sally Pezaro
Doctoral Researcher, Coventry University