RCM head of organising and engagement Denise Linay highlights the latest actions of the RCM’s Student Midwives Forum.
Having responsibility for the RCM’s Student Midwives Forum (SMF) continues to be as invigorating as when I first took it over two years ago.
Nothing beats the members’ enthusiasm for the profession and their propensity for new ideas. As the time approaches when a number of the forum will be leaving to take up posts as midwives, I hope that the experience of being an SMF member contributes in some way to their career success.
The RCM SMF was set up a number of years ago primarily to organise and chair the RCM Student Midwives’ Conference. At that time, it was known as the Student Midwives Working Group, but it has since seen a number of changes, including altering the remit of the group and increasing the membership to reflect the larger number of student midwives in England. The forum now has four members from England, two from Scotland, two from Northern Ireland and two from Wales.
Members are elected for a period of two years or until qualification – whichever comes first – and the group elects one member to chair on a six-month basis. This was introduced to give SMF members ownership of the group and experience in this transferable skill.
A number of posts on the SMF are becoming vacant as student midwife members qualify. There are currently three vacant in England, one in Scotland and one in Wales. Student midwives interested in joining the forum are asked to write a short mandate as to why they believe they should be on the group. If there is more than one applicant, then it goes to the vote of student midwife members in that country.
While a primary objective of the group continues to be determining the programme of the student conference and to chair the proceedings, it has taken on a broader range of responsibilities. These include supporting the setting up of RCM midwifery societies in universities, reviewing the RCM student midwife membership offer and making recommendations for its improvement, and contributing to Midwives magazine and other RCM communications. The SMF also identifies and debates issues of interest and concern to student midwives.
At the beginning of the year, the SMF members identified that having a network of student midwife links in every university would ensure that their views are representative of the broader student midwife experience. To this end, a paper was presented to the RCM strategic leadership team. This has now been agreed and work will begin on developing this network.
SMF members are encouraged to engage with RCM activity both at national and UK levels. This includes membership of the RCM advisory board, meeting with RCM country directors and representing the student midwife voice in various forums.