The Background Of Midwives Nursing Essay

Midwives are personally responsible for the health of both mother and child and only refer to obstetricians if there are medical complications. They work in multidisciplinary teams in both hospital and, increasingly, community healthcare settings.

Typical work activities (editors, 2012)

A midwife has a range of responsibilities, including the care of mother and baby, adhering to hospital policy and maintaining an awareness of issues such as health and safety. Typical work activities include:

diagnosing, monitoring and examining women during pregnancy;

developing, assessing and evaluating individual programmes of care;

providing full antenatal care, including screening tests in the hospital, community and the home;

identifying high risk pregnancies and making referrals to doctors and other medical specialists;

arranging and providing parenting and health education for the woman, her partner and family members;

encouraging participation of family members in the birth to support the mother and enhance both mother/baby bonding and family relationships;

providing counselling and advice before and after screening;

offering support and advice following events such as miscarriage, termination, stillbirth, neonatal abnormality and neonatal death;

supervising and assisting mothers in labour, monitoring the condition of the foetus and using knowledge of drugs and pain management;

giving support and advice on the daily care of the baby, including breast feeding, bathing and making up feeds;

providing advice and guidance on a safe and timely transfer home;

liaising with agencies and other health and social care professionals to ensure continuity of care;

engaging in professional development to meet PREP (post-registration education and practice) requirements;

Participating in the training and supervision of junior colleagues.

Real life stories (Meinel)

Name: Alison Meinel

Job title: Sure Start midwife, St Mary's NHS Trust

Entry route: After working as a registered nurse

Alison worked as a nurse for a year before applying to do a degree in midwifery. She says the variety of opportunities for NHS midwives can be daunting but allowed her to direct her own career path.

When I first qualified, I worked on wards - postnatal, antenatal and labour wards - and in clinic. I then helped with the formation of a caseload team that focused on the community. After taking someone on at booking, we did all their antenatal visits, and were on call for them when they went into labour, so it was 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I worked with a partner so one of us was always available.

I did that for two or three years and worked quite closely with a Sure Start midwife, which is how I got to know about the scheme. It's a government programme that brings together, early education, childcare, health and family support. I applied for a post when one became vacant. My role now is based within a children's centre, where I run antenatal classes, aqua-natal classes, baby massage classes and a support group for antenatal and postnatal women so they can meet informally.

I also do outreach work with those in temporary accommodation - such as travellers - who may have been missed by the system. And I do postnatal support visits, so if somebody lives in our area and just wants to have a chat with a midwife I am there rather than them having to wait for an appointment.

There are many different avenues you can go down depending on your special interests. When I started this job, I was given a blank piece of paper and it was up to me to get on with it - great in some ways but daunting in others. You have to be really self-directed and motivated.

One thing I have as a community midwife is the time to offer one-on-one support. People aren't ready to sit down and talk about pregnancy and what they should and shouldn't be eating, and why they shouldn't be smoking unless you've sorted out the other issues.

It's the sort of job that you can't enter lightly - it is often called a vocation but on the plus side there are not many other jobs where you can get this kind of satisfaction, where someone looks into your eyes and says "thank you", and you know that you've helped them on that journey. It isn't just about delivering babies, it is so much more.

Skills Required (Midwifery)

Excellent people skills- Having babies happens to all sorts of people, so you will be providing professional support and reassurance to a huge diversity of women, during some of the most emotionally-intense periods in their lives.

Good communication and observation- You need to be a good at listening and communicating with women, their partners and families.

Interest in the physical, psychological and process of pregnancy and birth- Working as a midwife you will need to have an in-depth understanding of foetal and child development. It is also important for you to update and test your knowledge against experience.

Ability to answer questions and offer advice- Midwives are the most frequent point of contact for parents to be, so you must be able to answer their questions, share your knowledge and skills with patients, their families and friends and make sure their needs are recognised by the rest of the care team.

Happy to work as part of a team- As a midwife you will be part of a multidisciplinary team liaising with GPs, health visitors and social workers. You will also work alongside the parents and baby. The better you know each other, the more smoothly the birth is likely to go.

Dealing with emotionally charged situations- You will have to stay calm and alert in times of stress, and enable women to feel confident and in control. On the rare occasions where something goes wrong, you have to be ready to react quickly and effectively.

Qualities required (editors, Midwife, 2012)

Intuitive, caring, objective and flexible approach;

strong team working and advocacy skills;

a calm and alert manner, especially in stressful situations;

the ability to react quickly and effectively;

strength, stamina and physical fitness;

A commitment to equal treatment for all women, irrespective of their background or circumstances.

Entry requirements/Qualifications and Experience (Midwifery)

Higher Education Institution(HEI) usually look for a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above - typically including English language or literature and a science subject - and either two or three A levels or an equivalent.

Successful applicants must also be able to demonstrate evidence of literacy and numeracy. If a student has a disability the above can be met through the use of reasonable adjustments.

However there are alternatives to GCSEs and A levels as the NHS and education sector encourages applications from people with a wide range of academic and vocational qualifications. Applicants who left full-time education some time ago may be required to give evidence of successful recent academic study, such as a QAA accredited access to higher education course or equivalent.

There is no legal minimum age requirement or upper age limit for entry onto pre-registration midwifery programmes. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requires you to have a criminal records check. All HEIs must satisfy themselves that applicants to pre-registration programmes are of good health and good character sufficient for safe and effective practice as a midwife.

Career opportunities (editors, Midwife, 2012)

Midwives are able to work in a number of different healthcare settings to develop experience and knowledge, which can lead to a range of career paths. From becoming a clinical specialist in an area such as home birthing, breast feeding advice, labour ward supervision or ante-natal screening to becoming a consultant midwife, dividing your time between midwifery practices, training and leading improvements in practice. There are lots of opportunities available.

Higher management opportunities exist as a head of midwifery services or a supervisor of midwives with the local supervising authority. You could also choose to go into teaching or research within a healthcare setting or a university. There are also specialist roles in areas such as public health, parenting education, intensive care neonatal units, ultrasound and foetal medicine.

You can find opportunities for travel with job opportunities in both the EU and overseas, as well as working abroad for organisations such as Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

Job Description (editors, Environmental health practitioner, 2011)

Environmental health practitioners (EHPs) act as advisers, educators, consultants, managers and enforcement officers, ensuring people are able to live, work and play in safe, healthy environments.

EHPs are responsible for developing, implementing and enforcing health policies, using specialist technical skills and knowledge to maintain and safeguard standards relating to people's health and well-being. They may be generalists or may specialise in specific areas of the industry, such as:


public health;

occupational health and safety;

food safety and food standards;

noise control;

environmental protection;

waste management;

Pollution control.

They liaise closely with officers from related council departments, as well as with Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Typical work activities (editors, Environmental health practitioner, 2011)

Tasks vary according to whether you deal with all environmental health issues or whether you specialise in a particular area. However, typical work activities are likely to include:

carrying out routine or unplanned visits and inspections to ensure compliance with health and safety legislation and taking action to improve conditions;

providing advice and assistance to householders and businesses;

taking photos, producing drawings, removing samples and conducting interviews as part of the inspection process;

investigating complaints from the general public;

carrying out food hygiene and food standards inspections;

investigating accidents at work and complaints about poor standards of health and safety, as well as identifying areas of negligence;

investigating outbreaks of infectious disease and preventing it spreading any further;

taking water samples to maintain and improve standards in public swimming and bathing areas as well as private water supplies;

monitoring radiation activity, taking action when safety levels have been exceeded;

ensuring the health and welfare of animal livestock on farms and other premises, as well as during transportation;

issuing licences for pet shops and other animal-related businesses;

advising on planning and licensing applications;

monitoring levels of noise, air, land and water pollution;

giving talks at public enquiries, meetings and exhibitions, as well as ensuring compliance through education, advice and enforcement;

taking enforcement action, initiating legal proceedings, preparing and giving evidence in court;

advising on health and safety issues in relation to new buildings and developments;

Arranging for removal of abandoned vehicles and refuse.

Real life stories (2009 Fubra Limited, 2009)

Andrew Walsh works for the BBC as a safety adviser, having qualified as an Environmental Health Practitioner...

I’ve been working for the BBC since August 2007. Before that I worked in local government and primary care after qualifying as an Environmental Health Practitioner in 2003.

It may be a cliché, but every day is different. I work for BBC Safety and support productions to help make content. I support a number of different areas from TV programmes such as Crimewatch and Last Man Standing to events and technology divisions. I love the diversity because one minute I could be doing an investigation for a forthcoming production, or on location whilst filming to check they are doing everything they said they would and the next minute inspecting film caterers, technology labs, or working with a contractor to fit-out new warehouses for all the BBC’s archive material to go into. I also monitor the safety management processes for the productions and divisions, doing accident investigations or auditing risk assessments. We have in-house specialists such as pilots, rope experts, divers, former cameramen, ex-fire-fighters, ex-military officers so I am always asking questions and sharing problems.

I have always liked the creative arts and TV as well as backstage theatre work, so I still get excited when watching a live studio or filming on location. I have been lucky so far as I have been involved with productions such as East Enders and Children in Need. I’ve even been to Indonesia for an adventure programme and to various music events. I don’t really have any dislikes about my job, because I’ve only been in this position for a year and the BBC is a fascinating organisation. However, the move from local government enforcement (and the North West) to London and a private organisation has taken a little getting used to. The culture is very different but fun.

For anyone considering this as a career, I would say that like most jobs, it’s about who you know. There are Environmental Health Practitioners everywhere, so find one, speak to them and get your foot in the door. Seeing the job first hand is really interesting and local councils are a good place to start.

The job and profession is diverse and whatever your interest - food, safety, environmental protection (pollution), pests, contaminated land etc. - there is a role somewhere for everyone. The skills you have as an EHP are also very transferable. One minute you might be speaking to an injured person, the next to a senior manager, trader or member of the public.

Skills required/Qualities required (2009 Fubra Limited, 2009)

Environmental Health Officers are normally required to possess the following skills:

Strong communication skills

Good decision making skills

High level of literacy and numeracy

Assertiveness and diplomacy

Team player as well as able to use their initiative

Most jobs also require a full driving licence due to on-site inspections and visits.

Entry requirements/Qualifications and Experience (2009 Fubra Limited, 2009)

Environmental Health Officers require an undergraduate (BSc) or master's (MSc) degree in environmental health. These qualifications are accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland in Scotland and can be obtained through full-time or part-time study. It should be noted that there are very few postgraduate courses in this discipline and candidates for these courses are required to have an undergraduate degree in a science-related degree.

Work experience is preferred but not essential; it can prove to be very valuable when applying for courses and later jobs. Environmental Health officers must continue to undergo training throughout their careers to ensure that their skills and knowledge are kept up to date.

Career opportunities (2009 Fubra Limited, 2009)

Many Environmental Health Officers work in teams, headed by a team leader. However, some local authorities have fairly flat management structures so chances for promotion are limited.

Career progression often requires relocation and specialisation in individual divisions, e.g. food safety, environmental protection, housing and public health.

As in many professions, senior positions go hand in hand with added responsibilities, such as creating policies and training new Environmental Health officers. In local government positions, senior Environmental Health officers may act as the contact person for government departments.