Targeted action needed to retain and recruit midwifery educators says RCM

By Gemma Murphy on 16 December 2020 Midwifery Student midwives SMF - Student Midwives Forum Education RCM Education Midwifery and nursing degree Learning Funding

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has today called for more investment and support for midwifery educators, as a new survey revealed less than a quarter (24%) felt there were enough staff in their educational organisation to enable them to do their job properly.

Over 95% of midwifery educators surveyed by the RCM felt increasing workloads resulted in high stress levels. The RCM says it is concerned by the findings that show no improvement on survey results from 2017.

Commenting, the RCM’s Head of Education and Learning, Carmel Lloyd, said: “If we are to invest in the future of maternity care, the journey starts with an investment in midwifery education and midwifery educators. If midwifery programmes are understaffed and lacking resources, education suffers. It is depressing to see that in the three years since we last undertook this survey, the situation seems to have worsened. What is most alarming is that over half of midwifery educators in the UK are over the age of fifty and many of them have told us they feel they cannot remain in the profession until retirement due to the current work conditions and pressures.”

Many educators felt they had not received the additional support from their employers to transition to home working during the pandemic, including better IT equipment to enable them to continue to deliver education to student midwives. The survey also revealed:

  • 63% feel the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health
  • 80% feel overwhelmed by their workload
  • 39% of respondents said they had been either bullied, harassed or abused by colleagues or students

Carmel added: “It’s clear that urgent action is needed to attract and retain midwifery educators. Funding to increase administrative and pastoral support for midwifery educators who are experiencing unacceptable levels of stress is way overdue. The time is now to fully implement the Council of Deans’ recommendations with respect to workforce strategy, recruitment, careers, succession planning and diversity as there is also an urgent need to address the lack of ethnic diversity amongst midwifery educators.”




To contact the RCM media office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected]


Notes to Editors


Other key findings in the RCM Educators survey included:

  • In 2019/20, more than 80% of midwifery educators agreed they feel overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do, up significantly from 58% in 2016/17.
  • Only 24% of educators agreed there were enough staff in their organisation to enable them to do their job properly, down from 30% in 2017.
  • Just under three quarters (71%) of midwifery educators agree their personal life suffers because of their working life, up from 46% in 2017.
  • In the last twelve months, 95% of midwifery educators report that they have felt stressed every day, most days, or some days. The proportion of educators feeling stressed ‘most days’ has risen from 32% in 2017, to 41% in 2020.
  • Almost half (45%) of midwifery educators had come to work despite not feeling well enough to perform their duties.


Read the full RCM survey here: midwifery-educators-survey.pdf (

Read the Council of Deans of Health report of the academic workforce in health faculties here:



The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at