If you are interested in becoming a midwife and you have not had previous experience of giving direct care to someone with health needs, it might be an advantage to organise some form of experience in this area before applying for a course.
Some maternity units may offer the facility for you to spend a few days observing the work that midwives undertake. This can be a valuable way of gaining an insight into the demands of the job and building your confidence working in healthcare environments. The best way to arrange this is to contact your local NHS Foundation Trust and explain why you are interested in a career as a midwife. Alternatively, you might want to speak to the careers advisor at your school or college as they sometimes have existing arrangements with local NHS services.
It is important to remember that work experience is becoming increasingly uncommon where greater precautions are now taken to ensure the safety and security of women and their babies. As an alternative, it may be helpful to contact your local maternity unit and ask if you can speak to a midwife about their role.
If your personal circumstances allow this, another pathway is to find work in a health and social care setting. You might want to find work as a Health Care Assistant (HCA) under the guidance of healthcare professionals like nurses or midwives. This type of experience can help you gain a better understanding of healthcare provision and working within multidisciplinary teams. More information on HCAs can be found on the NHS Health Careers website.
If this is not possible, it may be useful to get involved in local support groups for pregnant women and new mothers, or find voluntary work that demonstrates your skills in communication and teamwork.
Research and reading
Another way to prepare for your application is to develop your knowledge of midwifery by reading relevant materials. You may be interested in reading articles from the MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, or articles from other publications such as the RCM Midwives magazine.
You may also be interested in keeping up to date with current developments in midwifery through our free monthly newsletter.