The School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, University of the West of Scotland is the largest of its kind in Scotland, and has around 4,100 full and part-time students studying across the university campuses in Ayr, Dumfries, Hamilton and Paisley and online.
Services offered include pre-registration preparation at Higher Education Diploma and Degree level in Adult Nursing and Mental Health Nursing and Midwifery at Degree level. In addition, post-basic courses and courses up to Masters level in Nursing, Midwifery and related topics are also provided.
Open/distance learning approaches to provision are increasingly being used and proving to be very popular. We also have a wide range of options tailored to meet the needs of carers. Our Midwifery Directorate was the UK’s first university department to receive a Certificate of Commitment for a UNICEF Baby Friendly award.
This month MIDIRS stops to chat with Midwifery Tutor Jean Watson, who has worked for University of West of Scotland for the past six years. Jean was a clinical midwife for over 20 years before taking up an academic post as Lecturer-Practitioner in 2006. She has been employed as a full time Lecturer in Midwifery since 2007, both posts within the University of the West of Scotland (formerly Bell College). Jean is also a Supervisor of Midwives, Scottish Multi-professional Maternity Development Programme instructor as well as an internationally approved infant massage instructor. Particular interests include water births and practice development. Jean is married with two children and enjoys walking, reading and trying to keep fit.
So, Jean, what made you choose a career in midwifery?
I got the midwifery bug when I attended a small midwifery unit called the William Smellie Maternity Hospital (WSMH) in Lanark in 1982, during my General Nursing training and I thought what a fantastic job it would be to deliver babies!
Tell us a little bit about your background?
I have worked in Lanarkshire all my life, first as an auxiliary nurse in the children’s ward at Law Hospital, then as a student nurse and staff nurse as well. I completed my midwifery training at Bellshill then took post as staff midwife at the WSMH in 1986 and worked there until its closure in 1991. I worked at the new unit named the William Smellie Maternity Unit at Law Hospital as a Sister Midwife until it too closed and moved to Wishaw General Hospital where I became Practice Education Facilitator and Maternity Coordinator before my joint Lecturer-Practitioner post with NHS Lanarkshire and Bell College in 2006.
What does being a Midwifery Tutor mean to you?
Passing on information and my experiences to the students but also learning from them.
What has been your greatest challenge during your career?
Dealing with and adapting to all the changes within the public sector where I have worked all my life.
Who do you admire most in the world of maternity care and why?
The women that we provide care for – the miracle of birth – no need to say more really.
Which of the main issues facing the midwifery profession today concerns you the most?
The lack of jobs for newly qualified midwives.
Which of MIDIRS services have you found useful during your studies – and which would you recommend to students?
The literature searches are excellent.
Completely non work related – how do you relax when you are not working?
I like walking, reading and watching my sons play bowls!
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt so far – can be in life generally, or in your work, or a mixture of both?
Always treat people the way that you would want to be treated yourself.
And finally, if you were to give a few words of advice to new student midwives what would that be?
As above, always treat people the way that you would want to be treated yourself. Never forget how to care and never forget what it feels like to be the new person on the ward!
Contributor & Photo Credit: Jean Watson, Midwifery Lecturer, University of the West of Scotland