Although it was my first time at conference this year, I was impressed by the number in attendance and by the enthusiasm of everyone there, not only for midwifery but for the freebies as well!
Sitting through the various speakers, it was great looking around at the reactions of students either vigorously nodding or shaking their heads or clapping in agreement to the opinions and sometimes controversial points put across. It highlighted the passion and feeling felt for midwifery as a whole and for the careers being worked so hard towards.
Dame Lorna Muirhead set the context for the conference with her belief that the two main goals for midwifery care is to send woman and child out of your care ‘well’ and to make the experience memorable for being a good experience. She also ignited debate, when asked about her views on direct-entry midwives, by replying how she felt sorry for them for not having completed nursing training while at the same time having to care for more high risk women nowadays.
Speaking to some students during the breaks, they told me they could really relate to Dame Lorna and that they admired her for being controversial and going against the grain on some topics regarding midwifery and maternity services.
PhD student and speaker Mary Ross-Davie
was quick to state at the beginning of her talk, that as a direct-entry midwife she didn’t feel disadvantaged having not been a nurse first, because she made sure she got involved as much as she could when learning general nursing skills during her midwifery training and by asking lots of questions. Her presentation of the SMILI study highlighted the differences that can be made by promoting normality.
Other inspirational speakers included consultant obstetrician and gynecologist Dr Niamh McCabe, who posed the question ‘who makes the choice in childbirth?’ It was interesting to hear her main interests are normalising pregnancy and childbirth and promoting and encouraging VBAC. She believes midwives should be the ones to make the choices, not obstetricians! The RCM Student Midwives’ Working Group members gave a great preparation session and Wendy Bascal’s Rebozo Technique
was really intriguing.
Overall, it was a great conference, which hopefully whet everyone’s appetites and provided opportunities to find out more on a variety of subjects and most importantly to mingle, network and chat to fellow students from across the country.