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          The Work

          As a midwife you would care for and support pregnant women, their partners and babies, before,
          during and after childbirth.

          Your work with women before a birth, would typically include:
           q giving advice on issues such as healthy eating

           q explaining options such as hospital or home delivery, natural childbirth and types of pain relief

           q running antenatal and parenting classes

           q monitoring the health of the mother and baby during pregnancy.

          During labour, your duties would involve:
           q checking how labour is progressing

           q monitoring the baby during labour and birth

           q administering pain relief (pethidine or gas-and-air) or advising on ways of managing pain

           q delivering the baby, which may include carrying out an episiotomy (surgical cut) and inserting

              stitches after the birth

          referring to a doctor if you identify any medical complications which could affect the safety of the
          mother or baby.
          Once the baby is born, your work could include giving advice to families on feeding, bathing and
          generally caring for their baby. As a midwife based in the community, you would make home visits
          to check on the health of the mother and baby for up to one month after the birth.

          Entry Requirements

          To qualify as a registered midwife you need to complete a degree in midwifery leading to
          registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Courses take at least three years to

          To get on to a course, you will usually need:
            q at least five GCSEs (A-C), including English and maths/science

            q two or three A levels, possibly including biology

            q evidence of your good health and good character.

          You must also agree to a Criminal Records Bureau check.
           q Criminal Records Bureau

          Check with course providers (listed on the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)
          website) for exact entry details because alternative qualifications, such as an Access to Higher
          Education course, may also be accepted. The NMC website also includes further advice.
           q Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

           q Nursing and Midwifery Council

          Midwifery degree courses attract a non-repayable, income-assessed (means-tested) bursary to
          cover living expenses. Your fees would also usually be paid. Check the NHS Business Services
          Authority website for details.
            q NHS Business Services Authority

          Once you are on the degree, you will spend time studying at university as well as on work
          placements in hospitals, the community and in clients' homes.

          Courses usually take at least three years to complete, however, if you are a registered nurse (adult
          branch), your training may be shortened to around 18 months. You will need to contact midwifery
          degree course providers directly to check if they also offer the accelerated programme.

          If you qualified as a midwife overseas, you may need to complete a midwifery adaptation
          programme before you can register and work in the UK. Contact the NMC for details.
             q Nursing and Midwifery Council



          You would usually work 37.5 hours a week, including evening, weekend and night shifts. Many
          hospitals offer part-time hours.

          You could be based in various settings including hospital maternity units, GP surgeries, midwife-led
          units and birth centres.

          In some NHS trusts you would split your time between working in the community and working in
          hospitals. In other trusts, you may be rotated every six months between antenatal, delivery and
          postnatal duties.

          As a community midwife, you would travel to attend clinics and to visit clients in their homes.

          Skills and Knowledge
            q   excellent communication and 'people' skills
            q   the ability to inspire trust and confidence
            q   patience and tact
            q   respect for the needs of families from a variety of cultures
            q   strong teamworking skills, with the initiative to work alone
            q   a calm manner in stressful situations
            q   physical and mental stamina.

          Training and Development

          As a qualified midwife you must renew your registration with the NMC every three years. To
          re-register you must:
            q have worked a minimum of 450 hours

            q show that you are developing your knowledge and competence and keeping up to date in your

            q complete a minimum of 35 hours' professional study

            q keep records of your professional development.

          Check with the NMC for details.

          You could take further training to specialise in particular aspects of midwifery, such as ultrasound
          or neo-natal care. Check the website or contact the helpline of the Health Learning and Skills
          Advice Line for advice.
            q Health Learning and Skills Advice Line

          If you have had a break from working as a midwife and your registration has lapsed you will need
          to take a return-to-practice course. Courses are available throughout the UK and include a mixture
          of theory and clinical placements. Contact your local NHS Trust for details.
             q NHS Choices

          See the NMC website for full details of re-registration.
           q Nursing and Midwifery Council


          More Information

          Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
          23 Portland Place
          W1B 1PZ
          Tel: 020 7333 9333

          Queens University of Belfast
          School of Nursing and Midwifery
          Medical Biology Centre
          97 Lisburn Road
          BT9 7BL
          Tel: 028 9097 2233

          University of Ulster at Jordanstown
          School of Nursing
          Shore Road
          Co Antrim
          BT37 0QB
          Tel: 08700 400 700

          NHS Education for Scotland
          22 Queen Street
          EH2 1JX
          Tel: 0131 226 7371

          Health Learning and Skills Advice Line
          Tel: 08000 150850

          National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare
          Innovation House
          Bridgend Road
          CF72 9RP
          Tel: 01443 233 333

          NHS Careers
          PO Box 376
          BS99 3EY
          Tel: 0345 60 60 655



          You would find most jobs in the NHS, although you could also work in private hospitals and clinics.
          You may also find opportunities overseas, especially in developing countries.

          With experience, you could become a ward manager or team leader, responsible for a hospital
          ward or a team of midwives in the community. You may be able to progress to director of midwifery
          or midwifery consultant - you would usually need a Masters degree or PhD for this.

          Alternatively, you could take further training to become a health visitor or neonatal nurse
          (specialising in the treatment of women and babies with health problems surrounding birth). You
          may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading: (links open in new window)

          NHS Jobs
          NHS Professionals
          NHS Choices (for a list of local NHS Trusts)
          Nursing Times
          Royal College of Midwives (Jobs & Careers page)
          What Can I Do With My Degree (NHS Careers)

          We do not accept responsibility for the content of external sites.

            q   Midwives in the NHS can earn between £20,700 and £33,500 a year.
            q   Team managers can earn around £39,300.
            q   Midwife consultants earn up to £65,600.

          Extra allowances can be earned for additional responsibilities, length of service, and geographical

          Figures are a guideline only.

          Related Profiles
          Adult Nurse
          Health Promotion Specialist
          Health Visitor
          Maternity Support Worker


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