The job role of a midwife is to provide advice, care and support for women and their babies during pregnancy, labour and the early postnatal period. They help women make their own decisions about the care and services they access. Their responsibilities are wide ranging and include; caring for new-born children, providing health education and parenting support immediately after delivery, until care is transferred to a health visitor. Midwives are personally responsible for the health of both mother and baby and only refer to obstetricians if there are medical complications.
They work in multidisciplinary teams in both hospital, and increasingly, in community health care settings. Midwives do a multitude of duties, all the while adhering to hospital policy and maintaining an awareness of issues such as health and safety, examples of these duties are; diagnosing, monitoring and examining women during pregnancy, developing, assessing and evaluating individual programmes of care, providing full antenatal care, including screening tests in hospital, in the community and at home.
Midwives identify high risk pregnancies and make referrals to doctors and other medical specialists, they arrange and provide counselling and advice before and after screening and tests. They offer support and advice following events such as miscarriage, termination, stillbirth and neonatal death. They supervise and assist mothers in labour, monitoring the condition of the foetus and use knowledge of drugs and pain management, they give support and advice on the daily care of the baby including breastfeeding, bathing and making up feeds.
Midwives liaise with agencies and other health and social care professionals to ensure continuity of care.
Throughout their careers they engage in professional development to meet PREP requirements, and they participate in the training and supervision of junior colleagues. To become a midwife, you need to have a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above, typically including English Language/Literature and a science subject and either two or three A Levels or equivalent. Some trusts run cadet schemes which can lead to entry onto a pre-registration programme in midwifery. These are increasingly being replaced by apprenticeships.
You need to do an approved degree in midwifery at University to become a midwife. You need certain personal qualities to be a midwife and these include;
Being able to counsel and having listening and general communication skills which are essential.
Most newly-qualified midwives move quickly to permanent posts within health and social care with potential to progress within their career to clinical specialists, consultant midwives, practice and development roles, quality assurance or management roles. On the career framework midwives are a level 5, this is the level most registered practitioners in their first and second post-registration/professional qualifications jobs. Midwives usually work 37. 5 hours per week, including evening, weekend and night shifts and they can work in various places including hospital maternity units, GP surgeries, Midwife led Units and Birth Centres. In some hospitals/NHS Trusts you would split your time between working in the community and working in hospitals, or rotate between antenatal, delivery and postnatal tasks every 6 months.
The job role of a nurse is to plan and provide medical and nursing care to patients in hospital, at home or in other settings who are suffering who are suffering from both chronic and acute physical or mental ill health. The responsibilities of a nurse include; assessing and planning nursing care requirements, providing pre and post operation care, monitoring and administering medication and IV infusions, taking patient samples, pulses, temperatures and blood pressure. Nurses write records, supervise junior staff, organizing workloads, provide emotional support to patients and relatives and tutor student nurses.
Currently these are no national minimum academic entry requirements into nursing courses so every Higher Education Institute sets its own criteria. You will need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above, plus two or three A Levels or equivalent to get onto a degree course. To become a nurse, you need to have completed a degree in nursing. Aswell as these academic requirements to be a nurse you must possess these personal qualities;
Both nurses and midwives must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, this is a prerequisite of employment and practice, and must maintain their registration by meeting the NMC’s post-registration education and practice (PREP) standards. Not meeting these requirements will cause registration to lapse and you will not be able to work as a registered practitioner. There are two separate PREP standards that affect registration, these are the PREP continuing of professional development (CPD) standard and the PREP (practice) standard. . M1: Assess how a health worker can contribute to providing a positive experience for users of health services. Midwives having excellent people skills contributes to providing a positive experience for service users because having babies happens to all sorts of people, so being a midwife you would be providing professional support and reassurance to a huge diversity of women, during some of the most emotionally-intense periods of their lives.
Being able to communicate and get along with people from all walks of life is essential. For example; a mother from a different country doesn’t speak English very well, if the midwife just didn’t make as much effort at conversation with this lady, the lady might feel left out, slightly isolated. Whereas, regardless of the language barrier the midwife still made an effort to converse with the lady, the lady would have a more positive experience.
Nurses and midwifes require similar education up until their university courses, their training and knowledge contribute to providing a positive experience by learning about equality, diversity and individual’s rights within a health and social care setting. Their knowledge of how diversity benefits society in general and the NHS in particular means that they respect everyone as individuals. Nurses and midwives understanding laws surrounding human rights, the Equality Act… Etc. hanges their methods of providing care in a way that is focused on providing a positive experience for all service users. Nurses and midwives have to register with the NMC, this contributes to providing a positive care experience for service users because they know the people they have looking after them have to keep up to date on their personal and professional development in order to carry on practicing, that they have a council they are accountable to and that first of all being registered means that the NMC have approved them as a registered nurse or midwife.
A midwife’s competency in her field contributes to providing a positive experience for service users because a midwife is the most frequent point of contact for parents-to-be and so must be able to answer their questions, share their knowledge and skills with patients, their families and friends and make sure their needs are recognized by the rest of the care team, this means efficiently sharing information with other professions within the multidisciplinary team, ensuring continuity of care.
Care base values contribute towards providing a positive experience. These are values such as;
This contributes towards a positive care experience for both the professional and the service user, ensuring their protection and safety.
This provides a positive experience for service users because regardless of age, gender, sexuality, race, culture, religion they are being treated with the same respect and dignity as anybody else. Personal hygiene contributes to providing a positive experience for service users because being hygienic is a professional requirement as a healthcare worker and being or seeming unclean, untidy would not inspire trust and confidence in a service user.
A personal attribute necessary for healthcare workers is empathy. Tania Singer, an expert from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences wrote “in order for there to be empathy a person would have to see that another was in pain, and share in that pain, while knowing that it’s not their own emotion. However, empathy isn’t intrinsically good and pro-social… Empathy is a precursor to compassion, but too much of it can lead to antisocial behavior. ” This means that it is possible to be too empathetic and when this happens within the health sector it means that too much empathy can make the workforce not competent.
However, empathy can change you, it can grant you perspective, wisdom and equip you for future challenges. A healthcare worker would need to have the right balance in order to work competently and contribute to a competent workforce. Another personal attribute essential for healthcare workers is reliability. In order to have a competent workforce, the workforce needs to be a team and so reliability is really essential. Nurses need to feel confident that they can rely on the nurse she/he is handing over to, this confidence comes from reliability.
For example, a lot of healthcare workers on shift rotation and poor punctuality not only effects the patients but the other healthcare workers in your team. Being reliably punctual not only refers to turning up on time for shifts and handovers but completing your tasks on time. For example; taking patients samples efficiently and competently in reasonable time so that the patients aren’t waiting longer than necessary while not making them feel rushed or an inconvenience. Colleagues need to be able to rely on you to make the whole process run as smoothly as possible, contributing towards a competent workforce.
In conjunction to being reliable as part of a team, a lot of healthcare workers if not all work in multi-disciplinary teams. Being able to work alongside people from different sectors and specialties effectively, contributes towards a competent workforce. When you can communicate with all members of your team to ensure continuity of care for patients or service users you are not only contributing to the overall competency and efficiency of your team but contributing towards a positive care experience for all.
However, when working with people from different specialties and sectors it is not uncommon to find those who think greater of themselves, this brings about problems and conflict and can disrupt the competency of the workforce when there are people who are most productive when they can work well together but instead the relationship is forced and tense. Training and education for healthcare workers is constantly updated and adjusted and monitored to ensure that all healthcare workers are getting the most relevant and important education to their job role.
No matter what path that is chosen or healthcare role that is taken, all workers in the health sector have had the same basic training on care values, equality, diversity and individual’s rights. Everybody is trained and educated on how discrimination has no place in the NHS or elsewhere and the effects discrimination has on service users, ways of promoting equality, diversity and individual’s rights in a health and social care setting. This training that every healthcare worker takes means that the entire workforce is built upon the same foundational principles of providing high quality care and positive care experiences.
This contributes towards a competent workforce because everybody shares the same values and can help to ensure everybody upholds them. Although everybody is trained and educated on these topics some people cannot put their prejudices aside, it is a weakness of this blanket education that it can’t target and change the mindsets of those who may have grown up with discrimination and prejudice being accepted, who then may carry that on throughout their work life. A colleague being accepting of discriminatory practice would be detrimental on the competency of the workforce as it is a colleague’s duty to report this.
Continuing professional development or CPD is a requirement for nurses and midwives to stay on the register to practice. CPD means that throughout their working lives healthcare workers continuously expand on their knowledge and assess ways they could do their job better. This is important to contributing towards a competent workforce because all employees are keeping up to date with relevant education and qualifications, constantly ensuring they are doing their jobs to the best of their abilities, it increases their knowledge, experience and understanding and helps towards improving their job performance.
However, although CPD is a requirement that is monitored for some branches of healthcare workers, it is not always followed up or monitored for some. It is also costly and not all employers can afford the latest training and educational courses for all of their employees. Knowledge of record keeping procedures help contribute to a competent workforce because efficiently and properly written patient records are accessed by other, future healthcare workers that are involved with the patient or service user.
If the records are not legible, don’t have enough detail, are not relevant or appropriate it is going to have an effect on how the healthcare worker works with their patient. If all records are written and kept following the same policy and procedure for writing patient records all future healthcare workers who work with that patient benefit from the same necessary standard of record. This creates a competent workforce because with knowledge of these policies and procedures, the workforce all work to the same standard and patients benefit from this.
A weakness of the policies and procedures of record keeping, all be it to ensure efficiency, is that a guideline is to not be excessive, however sometimes being what others might deem slightly excessive could be one healthcare worker noting something of what seems like small significance at the time, but then another healthcare worker who accesses the records when providing services to that patient in the future could recognise it as a signpost. Possibly the beginning of depression or another mental illness, where then it wasn’t significant enough to be diagnosable, now this healthcare worker can see it has progressed and take necessary action.
Overall I think there is a balance to everything, too much empathy can be detrimental to the individual and therefore to the workforce and its competency, strict guidelines and policies can ensure standards are being met, but do they also allow for some things to go unnoticed, personal development is beneficial and necessary with a sector that is constantly evolving but when new qualifications and medical procedures come about does everybody have access to gaining this knowledge in regards to cost and time. There are so many personal attributes and other factors that help to make a competent workforce but also a workforce is made up of diverse individuals from all walks of life who won’t all have the exact same personal attributes or educations and yet everybody will in some way contribute towards providing a competent workforce.