Midwife trio win Welsh national award on International Day of the Midwife

on 05 May 2023 RCM Midwifery Midwives Preceptorship RCM Wales Wales

A trio of Welsh midwives have gained national recognition for their work to improve support for newly qualified midwives (NQM) across Wales.

Nerys Kirtley, Midwifery in Practice Education Lead at Cardiff University, Vicky Richards, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) National Officer for Wales, and Karen Phillips-New, Supervisor for Midwives at Aneurin Bevan Health Board, won the prestigious RCM in Wales/Chief Nursing Officer for Wales Quality Improvement Award. The award is in its second year and is presented to mark International Day of the Midwife on 5 May.

The team designed a framework to be used by health boards across Wales offering better support for NQMs. All midwives in the first twelve months after they qualify have a period called preceptorship. The aim is to support them in those early months on the job to gain more skills and confidence, and Nerys has come through with a project that improves that experience.

Julie Richards is the RCM’s Director for Wales, she said: “Those first months in the job can be a worrying and stressful time for NQMs, so it’s vital that they get the right support and guidance. This builds their confidence in the job and also helps to keep midwives who otherwise might have left when faced with the many challenges being newly qualified brings. Nerys and the team behind this have delivered in spades to make a significant stride forward in how we support new midwives in Wales.”

Called the One for Wales Preceptorship framework , the work of Nerys and the team is already in action having started in 2021. It is now helping to standardise preceptorships and how they are delivered, making it better for new midwives throughout Wales. 

Nerys led the work and on receiving the award, said: “We were delighted to receive the award. It is as a reflection of the success of the implementation of the Once for Wales preceptorship framework.”

Built into the framework is the coming together of a network of midwives from Welsh health boards going through preceptorship. They share their experiences helping Nerys and health boards to inform and shape the framework. In a survey earlier this year 89% of midwives being supported by the framework said it was giving them the support they needed, a real testament to its success on the ground.

Karen Jewell, Chief Midwifery Officer for Wales, said “I am delighted this framework has received special recognition today. Support for newly qualified midwives is essential and I am so proud that Wales and the leads recognised here have delivered a framework that provides valuable preceptorship to every new midwife in Wales. This is helping to secure the future of midwifery in Wales and those celebrated today are worthy winners, together with all of the preceptors and midwives supporting the next generation.”


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Notes to Editor 

The Royal College of Midwives (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 | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team.