Student midwife forum
What is the role of the student midwife forum?
The RCM student midwives forum (SMF) debates and discusses issues affecting student midwives at local and national levels to inform the work of the RCM on behalf of student midwife members. The SMF currently meets four times a year at RCM headquarters in central London and is made up of members who are elected by fellow student midwife members of the RCM.
Each of the four countries in the UK has student midwife representatives on the SMF and the group is chaired by a student midwife member and supported by RCM staff. The forum chairs the RCM Student Midwives’ Conference each year, identifying issues of interest and concern to student midwives and uniquely contributing to the programme.
View updates from the SMF in the Student Ezine.
Voting for the SMF 2020 is now open!
Voting closes Wednesday 27th November.
All nominations are in and have been collated; it is now your opportunity to read through the manifestos for your Country/Region and vote for the student midwife you most wish to see elected onto to the Student Midwife Forum.
All of the information for the voting process along with the survey to cast your vote is available on our website here.
Please note that votes will only be accepted from RCM student midwife members with a valid RCM membership number and will only be counted in accordance with the Country/Region you are studying in.
Voting closes at midnight on Wednesday 27 November at which point we will check and count the results and announce the newly elected forum members on Monday 9 December.
Read the manifestos below and cast your vote via our online survey here.
SMF Manifestos 2019
I’m Jenny, 36 years old, mum of two girls and passionate about flying the student midwife flag for the South West! I am from Cornwall, excited to be studying midwifery at the University of Plymouth and have a real desire to bring my prior experience and knowledge to help support and influence important national organisations such as the RCM.
What makes me stand out? I have worked for 10 years in governance and Patient Experience within the NHS. I have worked as part of the complaints team and as part of a team really looking to engage our patients, our public, our families, and find out what really matters to them. I am so passionate about hearing the patient voice and have also been a member of our local Kernow Maternity Voices Partnership for this reason. I feel privileged to be studying midwifery at such an exciting time; with more and more evidence based research at our fingertips, but also more appetite for listening to our women, their partners, their families, and learning from experiences. I have seen the worst and the best of what can happen in stories of midwifery care; even when things don’t go to plan, how important that midwifery support is, that communication, that compassion. I want to bring tools such as Care Opinion to the midwifery students, to see first-hand the experiences that people are having. We can learn so much!
I was the lead for Always Events in my hospital trust, helping to manage a project whereby we asked patients ‘what matters to you?’ and that put that into practice, ensuring patients co-designed with us every step of the way. Hopefully this demonstrates that I took a national initiative - for which I attended training in London – and implemented this successfully via organising meetings, planning, and co-designing a handbook. I have also worked with our bereavement midwife team and antenatal screening team to design feedback surveys so that they can find out what their women’s experiences were, and what improvements needed to be made.
My other passion is breastfeeding support. Having struggled with the start to my breastfeeding journeys I know how important that early support is, and I was proud to volunteer at my local groups for 3 years.
Practically speaking, I am experienced in attending NHS meetings, forums and conferences and chairing meetings. I have experience presenting important information and writing difficult and complex reports.
So why did I want to be a midwife? It has been a flickering fire in my head that has only been further ignited as the years have gone by. I realised I wanted to put my experience into practice, I want to be the person at the heart of the good care; I want to be the midwife that is passionate about the experience of her patients. And I want to support other student midwives to get the absolute best out of their training and their RCM membership.
My name is Carly Shenton and I am a second year student midwife at The University of The West of England. I am passionate about many aspects of Midwifery, but my particular interests are antenatal education and supporting emotional wellbeing - Not just for mothers, but their partners and ourselves as student midwives. It would be a privilege to represent the South of England on the RCM student midwife forum, with the current strain on the NHS and maternity services nationwide, I believe it is vital that today's student midwives are heard, in order to shape a positive future for midwives, and woman and their babies.
I pay close attention to local statistics, in particular post-partum haemorrhages and induction of labour rates, which are becoming alarmingly high locally and nationally. As the future generation of midwives, I am passionate about the role of students within a woman's experience of maternity care, some of these include;
• Providing women with a high standard of antenatal education so they can make fully informed decisions surrounding their care.
• Improving education to reduce the induction of labour rates
• Promote good emotional wellbeing following trauma/an unplanned turn of events in pregnancy or birth
• The importance of communication with women and their families.
• Promoting a safe and positive experience for women, their babies and their families.
• Providing extensive emotional support for women with complex social needs
• Encouraging skin to skin contact to facilitate breastfeeding with every type of birth, where possible.
I have undertaken the role of vice president of the midwifery society. This role includes providing additional support and learning experiences for current and prospective students. This year I have held a taster day for prospective students, discussing the role of the midwife and some current issues in todays society. This role has assisted me to develop my leadership skills, which makes me more competent for the role within the student midwife forum.
I am mindful that there is an extensive list of stressors on student midwives and current situations and strains within the NHS, and I feel strongly about promoting an effective support system for student midwives across the South of England.
It would be a privilege to have a place on the SMF forum to discuss these issues and promote a positive future for student midwives.
Life as a student midwife is intense, exhilarating and challenging, it is also the best journey I have ever set out upon. Our time as a student midwife is short, which is why I want to make a difference with the time I have. At the end of my first year, I reflected on the experiences I had had and decided to set myself a challenge for my second year. I am pushing myself further, putting myself forward for new opportunities and trying new things. Applying for this role is me leaping into a new and exciting opportunity, one which I know would be rewarding and offer the chance to meet so many passionate and inspiring people.
I want to become a Student Midwife Forum representative to get to know my fellow student midwives and represent their voice both locally and nationally. As a representative I will advocate for students, encouraging involvement and engagement, and representing the interests of student midwives.
Meeting new people and talking about midwifery are two things I can do with a lot of enthusiasm and passion. I am interested in hearing from students about their experiences and discussing their concerns and topical issues, for example the recent changes to the NMC educational standards. Student wellbeing is also something I have a real appreciation of, it is a topic I am interested in discussing with other students and the SMF; sharing ideas and aiming to enhance and support student wellbeing.
I’m an organised individual, with a keen interest in how we can positively use social media to connect and share information, I believe we can also use our midwifery societies to inspire each other. I would also like the opportunity to be involved in the student contributions to the e-zines and Midwives magazine and actively encourage involvement from midwifery societies and students.
There are important issues that we may face, and challenges to overcome and by voicing these we can look to enhance the experiences of current and future student midwives.
Although each of our journeys is individual, there are many experiences and elements of our training that are shared. As a SMF representative I will be a listening ear for students; by sharing our experiences, concerns and interests, we can help to find support and solutions through the SMF and the RCM. I am interested in the work of the RCM and how we can develop the student member experience.
The empowerment of students is close to my heart, I believe in supporting each other to increase our confidence, solidarity and to know our voice has power and influence.
It is important for even the quietest voice to be heard, because sometimes the quietest voice is the one that needs to be heard the most.
I am committed to supporting other student midwives and genuinely want every student midwife to be able to get the most from their training and importantly, to enjoy it!
Hello! My name is Emma. I am a first-year midwifery student from Plymouth. I am also a mother, a partner and an advocate for students, facilitator of peer support and believer in education.
I have a passion for providing students with the opportunities and tools they need to become excellent learners and professionals, in their own capacities. As a mature student, who has experienced University once before, I feel that I am well placed to advocate for a range of students from many various backgrounds and I am able to empathise with the challenges faced by many students, today. It is important that students feel they are represented by someone who wants to acknowledge their needs and their concerns. I would ensure that every student who makes contact, feels that they are heard and that they are listened to. I would applaud their achievements, travel beside those students whose journey takes a detour and stand up for those who wish to be heard.
I believe that I am an approachable, driven person who 100% believes in the voice of student midwives. We are a force to be reckoned with and it would be a privilege to represent the South of England, forging stronger bonds between the RCM and its student contingent. I am keen to get more students involved at branch level and promote participation and engagement with opportunities to progress professionally and personally. I am an active member of my local RCM branch and have recently agreed to get involved in their “Caring for You” campaign, aiming to increase mental wellbeing in staff and students across my local trust. This was an issue that was prevalent at the recent RCM Conference and one which students are well placed to battle, starting the change, now. I am keen to discuss those matters which truly affect students – including funding! I am a firm believer that we require something better than the bursary and that the current loan system is not fit for purpose. I am also a member of my University’s Midwifery Society and I am an active presence on Twitter, where I was once an ambassador for The Student Nurse Project., you can find me @MakeMeAMidwife!
As a mother of two with polar-opposite birthing experiences, I am passionate about empowering women in making educated and informed choices specific to them. I feel that through like-minded midwives and antenatal education, societal attitudes towards birth and the reality of life with a new-born can be changed for the better. With direct experience in supporting mothers with infant feeding, I have gained an insight into the complications that commonly arise and feel that mothers and midwives alike could benefit from peer support in all areas relating to antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care.
I am confident in events planning and co-ordinating, having worked in this sector for many years prior to beginning my studies. I have experience in facilitating events for a wide age-range and with hugely varied interests. I thrive on in-depth planning, communication and delegation within a peer group and I feel that I have developed vital leadership qualities as a result of this experience.
As a young woman, my life was set on a different path. I studied Journalism and English Language at the University of Portsmouth and gained crucial experience in writing for news and lifestyle publications. This experience will help greatly in being able to engage with readers of the RCM Magazine and E-Zine, using it as a platform for information and interaction for a large reader demographic. I personally look forward to the postman delivering my RCM magazines, an opportunity for me to unwind and resist burn-out whilst undertaking an informal and educational process. Connecting with fellow student midwives via this platform is something that I feel will benefit myself and my peers.
Additionally, I have a keen interest in peri-natal mental health and alongside this, the mental health of student midwives and registered midwives too. A workforce that is burdened under the pressure of financial instability and uncertainty requires a strong backbone, I feel that the Student Midwife Forum and the RCM could enable student midwives to be signposted to appropriate services, ensuring the holistic well-being on themselves and their peers. Signposting is a process I am familiar with, as my role as a volunteer with the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Welfare organisation required me to be informed and pro-active in understanding the local community and the potential isolation experienced by Armed Forces personnel and their families. Being from an Armed Forces family myself, I understand that reaching out is incredibly hard to do and that active engagement, through a magazine or e-zine, is an efficient way to signpost those in need.
I would be honoured to be offered a seat within the Student Midwives Forum, which allow me to develop my own career, as well as providing a support network for my fellow students, in a bid to assist with the creation of the next generation of registered midwives. I truly believe that happy midwives can generate happy mothers and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
Hello, I’m Rebecca, and I am a first-year student midwife based at the University of the West of England. I entered my programme through a foundation year entry last year, after being passionate about Midwifery for a long time, I decided to take the plunge. I didn’t have the grades I needed, and I wasn’t confident in a few things, but my determination grew. I soon started to help others, whether it was with their applications, getting into university or even advocating for mental health purposes. I have suffered in the past year myself, after the birth of my son and gaining entry to university, and I never expected to see myself excel like I am today.
I want to ensure that every woman has a voice and is heard, to make sure there is support available and just because some of the struggles are with ourselves, we can still thrive for our futures and the future of women-centred care. I want the opportunity to work with women surviving perinatal mental health conditions and to be a competent safeguarding midwife to all.
I am a big believer of the continuity of care model and believe it will hold a great advantage for women-centred care. I aim to be the change that we need to see today, representing the now training and looking to improve maternity services and care around the south.
If there is anything that you feel you need to be heard, then I will do my best to help you feel empowered and get your point out there. This is a wonderful opportunity for those who are looking to be heard and be a part of the change required today. I look forward to being part of the Student Midwife forum of 2019/2020.
As a mature student with a successful corporate career behind me I initially wondered if it was a little late to be embarking upon my dream career of midwifery. However, it became clear to me after much soul-searching, that it was absolutely essential that I put everything aside and focus on becoming the woman’s advocate at a time when she may be the strongest she has ever been, or at her most vulnerable. So, here I am, launching into my second year of studies with more passion than I knew was possible for my future career.
My own parenthood journey was relatively chequered. I have two wonderful boys in secondary school, but also sadly lost several babies, some through miscarriage and one as a result of a therapeutic termination at 22 weeks. This has given me invaluable insight into some of the experiences women in my care will face. I started my midwifery degree, after completing my access course, feeling that bereavement care would be an area I may eventually want to specialise in. On placement, I was fortunate enough to be assigned the trust’s Bereavement Midwife as my mentor: this meant I gained considerable experience of the empathy and support required in this area very early on.
I have unexpectedly, however, found another area of midwifery to strike a chord with me. Early in the first year at university we needed to find a public health issue which affected the women of a ward to which we were randomly assigned. An investigation of the area revealed that sexual violence was on the increase there. It became important to me to discover how the midwife could help women who had survived abuse, and indeed improve outcomes for those who have not disclosed any. I am now looking to complete my elective placement with a clinic which specialises in providing care to survivors throughout the maternity journey.
My passion to be a positive force for women under these challenging circumstances, baby loss and abuse, makes me want to have a voice for them on the Student Midwife Forum. I feel that I can bring commitment, focus and fire to the forum on those issues. I am also very keen to contribute to the discussions surrounding providing the best evidence-based care for all women. I feel that I have ideas to offer and an ability to discuss and debate them sensibly. My empathetic personality means I can understand multiple viewpoints and help to navigate a viable route through a myriad of solutions.
I would relish the opportunity, as part of the SMF, to help organise the Student Conference at the RCM Conference. I didn’t think it was possible to be more motivated to develop my own voice, for women and for the profession of midwifery, and to help others find their voice. However, I left Manchester with even more zeal and commitment. I really hope to be granted the opportunity to join the forum.
My name is Elizabeth Roberts. I am a third-year student midwife who is studying at Middlesex University, London. Midwifery is a career path which found me, and it is one of the best decisions I made. As a student, I enjoy using and developing skills, to support women and their partners into parenthood. Some of my favourite aspects are empowering women on how amazing their bodies are, debunking myths around breastfeeding and encouraging mums that ‘fed is best’.
In my spare time, you’ll find me involved in music or listening to podcasts. I also am a Co-Youth Leader for my local church where I nurture the spiritual and social wellbeing of 12-18-year olds.
For the last two years, I had the privilege of being a student voice leader for my cohort. I learnt the importance of listening to everyone’s voice. Voicing the concerns of my fellow student midwives, has resulted in me being a part, of implementing changes to improve, their learning experience. For example, two areas which I want to support students in, are mental health and wellbeing. National statistics show an increase in students, suffering from mental health and it was a concern of my colleagues. Therefore, student wellbeing days were organised and received positive feedback. This emphasised the importance of self-care in order for students to thrive in their studies. I would like to be a part of change and supporting students on a larger scale within the RCM SMF.
Being a part of RCM SMF will allow me to contribute and develop skills, which will enhance, the learning experience of student midwives. My effective communication skills, allows me to engage with client and colleagues to execute a high standard of care. This is needed when interacting with students and midwifery societies nationally, to decipher the areas, in which student midwives need the most support. As a youth leader, I demonstrate the ability to manage, contribute to a team and plan activities to a challenging deadline. These are all needed when chairing RCM Student Midwife programs. The nature of the midwifery course has evolved my time management, organisation and prioritisation skills. The art of listening, is the skill I cherish the most because I do not have all the answers. There is something, we can all learn from each other. One of my favourite things about placement is interacting with students from other year groups. From a simple conversation to understand if and how they are coping with course demands’ to giving advise on how to avoid the mistakes I previously made. My aim for doing this, is to encourage, empower and support them to reach and fulfil their potential as student midwives.
Being a midwife means being an advocate for the women in our care, however, we must be an advocate for ourselves and colleagues too. Our voices as students are valuable as we are the future of the NHS and listening to them can better the lives of students, future employees and women holistically.
I would be honoured to be considered to join the RCM student midwifery forum (SMF). Over the past year and a half, I have a gained a growing picture of what to be ‘with woman’ really means. Not just is it the support and advocating of the women but also the support of the midwifery team to one another. If we get the latter part right, we are more than likely going to be able to give the correct care effectively.
As a student midwife, although certainly valuing my opportunities greatly, there seems to be some inconsistencies to this concept of ‘team’ on clinical placement. This is why being part of the SMF would be a fantastic opportunity for me. Being part of a ‘less spoken for’ representation of the maternity team, it would be incredible to be able to not just advocate for women but advocate for the next generation of midwives too. It is important that students feel supported and heard, and for me to be given an opportunity to advocate for my fellow students on a national level in the SMF would be a fantastic opportunity.
Representing London in the SMF would be a big role, but something I am certainly up to doing. I have been a student representative for my university at hospital for the past 1,5 years and have found great joy in this. I have been able to maximise my fellow students’ experiences within both clinical and academic settings and I feel the responsibility has suited me well. I am dedicated to my love of midwifery and my fellow students, enthusiastic and I certainly think outside the box.
I want to create stronger ties between university link lecturers, the RCM and the students, with organising meetings to voice concerns and aspirations frequently. As it stands it feels like we are unfortunately left to our own devices once on placement, and although it has made us independent learners, there is a lack of support from the universities during this often quite challenging time. Universities shouldn’t expect hospital CPF’s to be offering this support as the large number of students means this is only able to be done on a superficial level.
I also aim to change the negative language around students. Being told to “get out of the profession whilst you can” by midwives doesn’t stand it good stead for the future midwife’s outlook on their career. Thankfully I am dedicated and resilient but for some, this is sometimes hard to hear. In busy London hospitals I can appreciate that looking after students can sometimes be straining, but productive action needs to be taken to change the outlook on training. After all, we are the future of midwifery, this should be celebrated with positive language and encouragement.
In order for the whole multidisciplinary team to feel strong and valued, every element of it needs to have the required support. In my opinion we are students, but a valuable part of this team and I would be excited to be the face and voice of this strong work force within the RCM.
I believe that my abilities would make me the ideal candidate to represent the RCM in the London area. I currently in my second year of the BSc Midwifery degree at LSBU.
During my first year I was the course representative for my cohort stream and my hospital group, I used this responsibility to raise concerns expressed by my colleagues and to support students. Most notably I participated the course board to talk about rules that govern our MPAD assessment and gain more understanding to feedback to my cohort. I believe that these actions and responsibilities prove my ability to represent student midwives more widely in London.
I would relish the opportunity to voice student midwife concerns on a higher platform and insight real change when required. My fellow student midwives describe me as determined, supportive, influential, and kind.
As a representative of the RCM my main aims are to:
- Listen to student midwives and promote interactions and membership to the RCM
- Run a regular event for student midwives in London, having attended the ‘Modern Midwives Meet-up’ event with friends I know there is appetite for more networking in London to support student midwives.
My communication skills will make me an effective student midwife representative; I have worked in hospitality and customer service roles, which have demonstrated my ability to focus on people. My varied work roles have increased my reliability these attributes were broadened during clinical placements.
With experience gained from my earlier career in London, Glasgow and Cambridge, I have adapted well to the diverse student community in London. It is reflective of the multicultural nature of midwifery and our universal responsibility to advocate for women from a wide range of backgrounds. I believe that this awareness will make me an excellent representative for student midwives across London.
My leadership, discipline, and ability to work in a team have been honed through my experiences as an Officer in the Royal Navy Reserve. I have trained to be resilient in situations of high pressure, whilst retaining the ability to make confident judgements based on sound initiative, when giving complex instruction to a team.
My creativity and teamwork have been shown as a member of the Military Wives Choir, the Bart’s Choir and multiple orchestras. I have proven my determination and high morale on the rugby pitch, my passion in the kitchen for cooking. My practical skills are notable, I design jewellery, draw and make clothes.
I am a safe investment as a member of the RCM SMF; I have the proven emotional resilience and commitment to be successfully represent my colleagues with passion and empathy.
#hellomynameis Angharad, and I am a third year student midwife at Swansea University and I have been an RCM member since my first year in University.
I have been a student representative for my cohort throughout my degree, and I value the importance of the student voice, having attended forums and meetings to support our students in Swansea with any suggestions and feedback they may have. Throughout my degree I have also been involved in a leadership programme and I believe that this experience would help me in the role of forum member.
I would love the opportunity to sit on the RCM student forum to help our important student voices reach a wider audience. As student midwives we have the amazing privilege to support women and families at such an important time in their life, but it is also important that someone is there to support students. For many student midwives across the UK there is currently a lot of change within the midwifery world and the NHS, for example the introduction of continuity of carer will have the potential to change the way our future employment looks and being in a role like this I hope to have a voice for students involved in changes like this.
Student midwives are the next generation and the future of midwifery in the NHS and it is important that their voices and opinions are heard. The RCM can support students in many ways, enhancing their experience through university both educationally and clinically and I would like the opportunity to help be involved in this.
With the RCM conference coming to Wales next year I would love the opportunity to be involved in such an important event for our country, and as a student from Wales I would love to be able to showcase initiatives that have been happening in Wales and all we have to offer.
Advocacy plays such an important role in midwifery as a whole and I would relish the opportunity to be an advocate myself for student midwives in their midwifery journey.
I am hardworking, highly motivated and would be committed to contributing an active role within the RCM Student Midwifery Forum if successful. I have thoroughly enjoyed attending the last two RCM Annual Conference as a student midwife and would, therefore, love the opportunity to contribute to the RCM Student Midwives’ Conference next year. I am currently a third-year Midwifery student in Wales, I hope to enhance my knowledge, leadership skills and professional development. I also have a strong interest in research and global midwifery.
I feel it is important that student’s voices are heard therefore, I have represented my cohort as a student representative within my University to express the thoughts and needs of fellow students. I enjoy networking and meeting students by attending midwifery conferences and hearing about their experiences. I have participated in the Virtual International Day of the Midwife by submitting a poster presentation which has helped to build my confidence. As a student midwife, I have carried out two elective placements in Ghana and had the opportunity to shadow inspirational midwives in the UK. Gaining these experiences inspired me to write a midwifery blog in a journal to share my experiences and hopefully encourage students to use elective placements effectively.
I would like to a seat on the SMF to represent student midwives in Wales and practically in North Wales. During my journey as a student midwife, I have seen students face different issues that they have felt unable to voice, therefore, I would like to provide a voice for them. I also want to help ensure that students have a positive experience with the appropriate support, education and clinical experiences. Having a positive experience is vital in enabling students to provide a high level of care for women and their families. Therefore, it is important that student’s and encouraged and that their voices are being heard as they will form the next generation of midwives.
I hope that I can help ensure students have a positive experience by being a voice for student midwives, particularly from North Wales. All the actives I have participated in as a student midwife has allowed me to develop my communication and organisational skills which I feel will be essential in representing the SMF. I am very passionate about providing the best possible care to women and families as well as making the most of my experience as a student midwife. I feel that it is also my role to encouraging and supporting other students. I would be able to use all my experiences gained to support the SMF. If I was elected to be a member of the RCM Student Midwife Forum would be an invaluable experience and I would be committed to attending all meetings and the RCM annual conference.
Who am I?
My name is Jess, and I am a friendly, driven and passionate third year student midwife at the University of South Wales. The training so far has taught me a lot about myself, the profession, and what it means to be a midwife. I believe that strong, competent midwives are made from well-supported and inspired students, and I would like to put myself forward for a seat on the forum to ensure that student midwives are celebrated for the work they do, and that the right changes are being made to allow us to have the best experience possible.
What can I offer?
I feel passionately about advocacy, both for the women in our care and our fellow student midwives, and am a member of the USW midwifery society. I also have a good understanding of what being a student in Wales is about, and experience of making changes. Before starting my Midwifery training, I studied Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University, and for all three years I represented my cohort in the student-staff panel, meeting regularly with senior members of the university and representing the views of my cohort. We were able to make real changes to the way things were run, and I would love to be able to do this on a larger, national scale on behalf of student midwives.
I have a particular interest in mental health, spending three years working with the charity Student Minds, running peer support groups for students with difficulties and becoming president of the Cardiff branch during my third year. The demands placed on students are huge, even more so for student midwives balancing both theory and clinical practice. I want to make sure that we are well-supported, taking the views of student midwives in Wales forward and ensuring our voices are heard and needs are met.
I believe that our experience as students directly affects the kind of midwives we turn out to be and, if elected, I would like to make sure that by the time we qualify we feel excited, confident and ready to step into our new roles. In a time of increasing pressure in the profession, it is more important than ever that students feel capable, supported and inspired, ready to provide exceptional care to women and continue changing midwifery for the better.
Representing student midwives in Wales is a huge responsibility, and I believe I have the right mix of skills, enthusiasm and passion to effectively collaborate with the RCM and make a difference.
I am an enthusiastic, passionate, highly motivated and organised second year student midwife and am
very keen to develop my knowledge both professionally and within the profession and wider health
community. Having completed a diploma in Art before commencing midwifery studies, I have continued
to utilise those creative skills within various presentations and feel these could be of further use for the
Midwives magazine, for example.
I am looking for a seat with the RCM Student Midwives Forum to be able to share the ideas of my peers as well as sharing current affairs affecting us individually or as a cohort or industry. I am also very interested to hear the opinions and issues that student midwives from other regions in the UK are experiencing and how these may differ or be similar to mine. I am currently part of my university’s Student Midwifery Society, and I am at the forefront of sharing ideas with our cohort and have also been part of arranging study days and conferences, including the upcoming All Wales Student Midwife Conference. Last academic year I was fortunate to be invited to speak at the All Wales Student Midwife conference held at Cardiff University. This was an exhilarating experience that at first seemed daunting but turned out to be an incredibly positive experience, and something I would love to do again. As well as sharing ideas, I have also received suggestions and taken these forward, for example, I personally arranged a trip to Newport from Swansea to attend a screening of TIGERS, with 10 student midwives attending after a university day. On this occasion, 20 student midwives had signed up for the event however a deadline for the current assignment was due the next morning and many had cancelled last minute. In future, if I was to do this sort of event again I would ensure a reminder email highlighting the deadline date is sent to highlight the need for additional planning, in the hope to increase numbers to events. Earlier this year I attended the RCM Education Conference in Bath and gained heaps of knowledge, that I passed onto fellow student midwives and I have also included some newly learnt techniques into antenatal education classes that I present weekly to parents-to-be. I feel I could offer these organisational skills to the RCM Student Midwives Forum for arranging meetings between midwives, RM branches, student midwives and universities and following up actions points to ensure the effectiveness and progress made by the Forum.
As a Student Midwife, I believe that this unique opportunity will enhance my already existing skill set, not least with regards to practising remote team working and communication, skills, both of which are core principles in midwifery, broaden my skills and knowledge set and further and enhance my midwifery studies by expanding and applying my knowledge effectively, and sharing my voice opinions and feeling heard (on behalf of others as well as personally) can only be a positive experience and enable me to provide the best midwifery care possible as a student midwife.
I am a second year student midwife at Queen’s University Belfast, and am a feminist who is passionate about empowering, educating and providing equality of opportunity to women and their families, and those I study alongside. I have dedicated my personal and professional life to learning about and understanding the needs of women, and hope to develop my skills in order to be the face and voice of student midwives in the RCM. During my time at QUB, I have had the privilege of learning from midwives in University and in the field about caring for women across Northern Ireland. I am approachable, non-judgemental and caring and work closely with those I study with, advocating for them and helping to drive their voices forward through my role in the QUB Midwifery Society and as a Peer Mentor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery.
I have been a member of the RCM during my studies and have felt inspired by those I have seen in Midwives magazine, e-zines and other RCM communications who have worked tirelessly to be a voice for midwives across the UK and Ireland. With the great political and social changes experienced at these times, notably in Northern Ireland from October 2019, I am keen to identify and debate issues of interest and concern, representing the voices of the women of Northern Ireland and my fellow students, colleagues and University, to help inform practice and ultimately help the experiences of women and those we care for as students and future midwives. I have excellent communication skills, communicating directly with women and their families as well as my peers and academics within the university, professionals and the multidisciplinary team. I would like to develop these skills in the Student Midwife Forum, to help contribute to and actively support the development of formal links between University Midwifery Societies, RCM Branches and the RCM. I currently volunteer for Sexpression NI, and sit on the Southern Area Sexual Health Network, roles which have enabled me to develop and maintain high levels of knowledge on issues affecting students, women and girls, and work in partnership with organisations that are experts in the fields.
I am extremely determined and motivated, and am able to and enjoy working independently and autonomously and as a member of a team. I have developed excellent time management and organisation skills which I believe will help me to balance the demands of this role while studying. I am able to challenge and be challenged in a professional way and am commited to providing women centred care. It is a privilege to provide care for women and their families as a student midwife, and I would like to put the skills and knowledge I have gained to identify and debate issues of interest and concern to student midwives and agree the course of action required, and share the work of the RCM Student Midwife Forum across QUB and Ireland.
My name is Ella Simpson and I am a 25-year-old first year student at Queen’s University Belfast.
I began my career in Law, before moving into corporate communications. A lack of fulfillment from my work led me to midwifery, where I felt I could use my skills to truly make an impact.
Communication is essential for both a midwife and a forum representative and is one of my strongest skills. Listening, extrapolating and reframing are key to communication. By virtue of my inherent skillset and previous experience in communications, I am skilled in collating and interpreting information from many sources and in disseminating information in impactful and attention-grabbing ways.
My long-term career goal is to be involved in shaping public policy on maternity care provision, so I actively seek out opportunities which allow me to gain exposure to strategic decision-making and networking.
For example, this month I will be attending the NMC Midwifery Open Doors event in London. As the only first year student selected to attend alongside peers and lecturers from Queen’s, I consider this a vote of confidence from the teaching staff at Queen’s - one which I intend to make the most of.
If elected to the forum, I would use my position to engage with fellow representatives on issues facing student midwives in Northern Ireland.
Current concerns such as access to termination of pregnancy, substandard perinatal mental health care and student mental health deserve consideration from a local and wider viewpoint.
The questions around the different positioning of terminations in NI and the rest of the UK would clearly benefit from a balanced local spokesperson acting with great sensitivity, empathy and respect.
My personal opinions would be irrelevant in my role as student forum representative, although I do feel strongly that we should not avoid the issue simply because it is difficult to navigate. I would like to facilitate learning between my peers and our GB colleagues to increase understanding of the role of the midwife and to share best practice.
The alarming lack of perinatal mental health provision in Northern Ireland is crystallised by the fact that, unlike our mainland and ROI neighbours, the province has spent nothing on perinatal mental health services and there are no specialist units available. Midwives see first-hand the hugely damaging impact of this, and I know that my fellow student midwives are impatient for change.
An issue which spans all regions is student mental health, especially in demanding courses such as Midwifery. I feel it is imperative that students are supported to develop resilience and coping mechanisms now to avoid burn out and in an effort to minimise drop-out rates from the profession.
I would consider it a privilege to work with fellow student forum representatives and the wider RCM to promote communication, affect real change in a constructive way and to amplify the voice of student midwives across the UK. Just as we will help women find and use their voices, I would like to do the same for my peers.
Meet the current members of the Student Midwife Forum 2019
"I joined the SMF as a 3rd year student midwife and am excited to be a voice for other student midwives in the north of England, with the aim to maximise student experience in both academic and clinical settings. I have spoken at the RCM education conference and also at the 2018 RCM conference and am looking forward to future opportunities."
"I am so excited to have this opportunity to be a representative for midwifery students, hopefully we can raise and tackle some important issues that we are all facing, while also being a source of support and advice."
"I represent the SMF on behalf of England South. I have joined the RCM in my third year to be a voice for student midwives in my region as well as to experience the opportunities that the role provides."
"I joined the RCM as a first year student, after I was inspired by a RCM organiser who came to our university. I was excited by the prospect of developing my passion for midwifery and since joining I have represented the SMF speaking at a conference celebrating the 70th birthday of the NHS."
"I am one of the SMF Northern Ireland representatives. I was eager to join the SMF to be a voice for student midwives within the RCM. I have really enjoyed my role so far and look forward to future opportunities."
Vince Rosales, a registered nurse and A&E senior nurse practitioner of 8 years, trained at Queens University of Belfast
"I have been a midwifery student since October 2017 on the 22 month course. I really enjoy representing students and the experience of working with the RCM."
"I wanted to join the SMF because I am passionate about supporting students in their midwifery journey. I am involved in lots of things that support student midwives and I want to bring all of that experience to the role. I am here to represent you so please do not hesitate to contact me with any issues or concerns, as well as your positive feedback."
"I am really happy to have a seat on the SMF for Scotland, looking forward to becoming actively involved in representing our amazing student body. I will rise to the challenge this role brings, as I believe student representation is vital and continues into our professional careers as future midwives."
"I joined the RCM SMF as a second year student. Students are the next generation of midwives. I want to be a voice for them in the RCM. To ensure they have the necessary support, education and experience needed to provide exceptional care for women and their families."
"Studying to be a midwife is helping to fulfill my ambition to care for women as well as being an advocate for them. I feel it is part of my role to encourage student voices to be heard as greater demands are being put onto midwives."
The dates for the meetings will be held on:
- Wednesday 23 January 2019
- Tuesday 30 April 2019
- Thursday 18 July 2019
- Tuesday 10 September 2019
How does RCM Student Midwives Forum engage with Student members?
There are number of ways that you can get engaged with RCM's SMF and other Student Members:
- View updates from the SMF in the Student Ezine which is emailed to all RCM student members.
- Follow @RCM_SMF
- As a Student Member you will receive newsletters and can access free events delivered by the RCM
For further information about the RCM SMF, contact RCM Wales National Officer, Vicky Richards at: email@example.com or by calling 0300 303 0444.