Being a midwife is an inspiring and immensely fulfilling role that requires someone who is able to develop a relationship of trust and confidence with those in their care. Every day is different, bringing with it assorted experiences and challenges, and midwives needs to have the skills to be able to respond to all of these appropriately and competently.
Any role that involves care for another person will require kindness, intuition and empathy, as well as a certain degree of objectivity. It is this objectivity that enables a midwife to act as an advocate for women, while also being flexible and adaptable to each woman’s individual circumstances and needs. Being a midwife means being able to take responsibility for your own actions, as well as recognising when to refer to others for assistance and guidance. This results in being able to communicate effectively and work in partnership with your peers, as well as with other allied health care professionals and agencies. It is essential that midwives are accepting of women and the circumstances in which they live. Midwives should treat all women and their partners with respect, irrespective of class, creed, economic status, race, sexuality or age, seeing them as individuals and tailoring their care appropriately.
By attaining the standard of a professional, this also requires you to maintain accurate, legible and contemporaneous documentation, as evidence of the care you have given. This includes recording the clinical indications for this care, as well as any information/advice that you have offered, and, where it is appropriate, that the woman has given her informed consent.
Who can be a midwife?
Application for a midwifery course is no longer subject to a minimum age requirement and is open to anyone holding the academic qualifications required for course entry. However, the educational and Health and Safety requirements mean that in reality, the youngest applicants are approaching 18 years at the point of entry to a midwifery degree programme.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 2004, defines a young person as: ‘any person who has not attained the age of 18 years’ and the manner in which young people may be deployed to work is restricted by this legislation (NMC 2009b). There are no gender specifications either, although there are considerably fewer men than women working as practising midwives. Information from the NMC shows that at 31st March 2008, there were just 132 male midwives registered to practice, compared with 35,169 female midwives (NMC 2007b).
Click the links below for general information on midwifery, applying for courses and more.