Heather Gibbs – Dudley Lodge Mother and Baby Unit
I spent three days shadowing Social Workers and Family Workers within the Unit. Observed comprehensive assessments, and risk assessment being completed. Observed staff reviewing case notes in order to identify risk factors such as family history, domestic violence, substance misuse, alcohol misuse, mental health issues, chaotic lifestyles, and poor parenting experience. Also observed the identification of protected factors that could support the family’s ability to meet the needs of the children.
Had the opportunity to observe Family Support Worker assessing parenting skills using observational and assessment tools during face-to-face interaction, and when monitoring CCTV footage. Observed the documentation of said interactions and observations in family case notes. Discussed with mentor how the documentation supports the decision-making process by the Courts.
Placement provided me with greater knowledge and understanding of the safeguarding process. Greater understanding and knowledge or potential risk factors as well protective factors. Feel more equipped in managing challenging situations with regards to child protection concerns.
Thoroughly enjoyed placement, would recommend Dudley Lodge to anybody that would like to gain more insight into the safeguarding process. Would like to develop my knowledge further by shadowing Safeguarding Midwife.
Racheal Grieveson, Alex Ruse, Ellie Swankie, Alice Saeed – Nagpur, India
- Observed maternity care in four hospitals.
- Witnessed the logistics of mobile care provision for rural communities.
- Gave a talk on breastfeeding and nutrition at a rural women’s group, and about breastfeeding support and values in the UK to nurses and student nurses.
- Visited social projects.
- Opportunity to become more culturally aware.
- We furthered our understanding of maternity care provision and resources in India.
- We learnt the importance of communication, compassion and choice in childbirth.
- We gained an understanding of how breastfeeding rates are linked to how breastfeeding is perceived in the wider culture.
- We became increasingly appreciative of the resources we have available to us in the UK.
- We learnt from the friendly welcoming attitude of those who received us in India.
Cherelle Goodall and Hayley Wilson – Observing fetal post-mortem, Birmingham Women’s Hospital
Experiences and evidence
We wanted to learn and understand the process after parent’s give their consent for their baby to have a post-mortem. Watching the process aided us to understand anatomy and physiology of the human body in more detail. To observe fetal anatomy in real-life really contributed to our learning and helped us consolidate on what we already knew.
To have this experience has really helped us tackle anxieties, and give us valuable knowledge and experience. It also gave us an in-sight to other health professionals’ job roles and how midwives can work alongside a wide multi-disciplinary team.
We both completed a day in mortuary at Birmingham Women’s Hospital alongside a pathologist and technicians. We wanted to understand the post mortem process and what is involved.
Hayley observed 5 post-mortems:
- 12/40 – Anencephaly
- 17/40 – Exomphalos
- 20/40 – Missed miscarriage
- 21/40 – Well formed – IVF pregnancy
- 2 years old – Child death following complex cardiac surgery. Cause of death appeared to be infection. Abscesses present in heart, lungs and brain.
Cherelle observed 2 post-mortems:
- 12/40 – Missed miscarriage (fetus appeared to be 8/40)
- 37/40 – stillborn, cause of death from a true knot in the umbilical cord
Cherelle also shadowed a technician reconstructing fetuses at 16/40, 22/40 and 31/40, and spent time with the bereavement team at the hospital.
- It gave us a wider understanding of the processes that take place following a miscarriage, still birth or neonatal death.
- Helped with anatomy and physiology.
- We gained appreciation for how respectfully the deceased were treated and how passionate the staff were about their job.
- This will be valuable to be in the future when working with women who suffer loss. Either in terms of an explanation of the process, or reassurance about how respectfully and with dignity that the deceases babies are treated with.
- Helped with anxieties of viewing deceased babies.
Anna Johnson, Miriam Pappworth, Joelle Craddock, Josephine Jones and Emily Madge – The Farm, Tennessee
We organised, as a group of five, to participate in an Advanced Midwifery Workshop at the world-famous Midwifery Centre at The Farm, Tennessee. We studied aspects of Midwifery such as suturing, shoulder dystocia, breech births and the emotional and spiritual life of a midwife. We would also had the opportunity to visit a traditional Amish midwife at the Ethridge Amish Community; as well as a class on breast casting.
We were keen to experience midwifery at a global level in a holistic, positive and supportive environment focused on enhancing emotional and spiritual wellbeing of women and their families. The Farm Midwifery Centre adheres to SDGs such as promoting good health and well-being, gender equality and empowerment, sustainable communities, responsible consumption and production, as the community source local food and largely have a plant based diet. The most significant SDG that the Farm upholds is peace, justice and strong intuitions. The midwives strive to promote spiritual and physical wellbeing based on core beliefs and values.
The Farm philosophy is that birth is a natural process best undertaken in a home surrounded by family and supportive midwives. Ina May Gaskin, the mother of midwifery, renowned author and international speaker, founded The Farm Midwifery Practice and is highly influential to us as Student Midwives. We intend to use this positivity and focus of childbearing as a normal physiological event in the increasingly medicalised Midwifery practice in the UK.
Midwifery care at the Farm is provided on a small scale and midwives know the women they work with. In the UK a similar model of care can be achieved through one-to-one care, caseload midwifery and birth centres. Midwifery 2020 and the National Maternity Review (Cumberledge, 2016) are moving towards a model promoting continuity of care and community focus within the UK.
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