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Student life

5 July, 2013

Student life

Changes to the RCM’s Student Midwives Forum mean that the group has a wider remit than in the past. Denise Linay, who has taken over responsibility for the forum, explains more.
Midwives magazine: Issue 4 :: 2013
Changes to the RCM’s Student Midwives Forum mean that the group has a wider remit than in the past. Denise Linay, who has taken over responsibility for the forum, explains more.

Student Midwives Forum members

As a midwife of some 30 years, I find there is nothing more invigorating than spending time with student midwives. Their enthusiasm for the profession and the rush of new ideas is exciting. This is why I was delighted to take over the responsibility of the RCM’s Student Midwives Forum (SMF) at the beginning of the year.

The RCM SMF was set up a number of years ago primarily to organise and chair the annual RCM Student Midwives Conference. At that time it was known as the Student Midwives Working Group.

Earlier this year, the terms of reference were reviewed, with a number of changes being made.
Firstly, the membership of the group was changed to reflect the larger membership of student midwives in England. The forum now has four England members, two from Scotland, two from Northern Ireland and three from Wales. As the election for the Welsh seat came in at a dead heat, we decided to have three representatives rather than two.

Members are elected for a period of two years or until qualification; whichever comes sooner.
The group is chaired by a member of the forum on a six-month basis. This was introduced to give SMF members ownership of the group, as well as experience in such a transferable skill. Members elect the chair.

When a post becomes vacant, RCM student midwife members are invited to put themselves forward with 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.

The changes to the terms of reference have also widened the group’s remit. While its primary role continues to be determining the programme of the annual RCM Student Midwives Conference and chairing the proceedings, it has now taken on a broader range of responsibilities. These include supporting the setting up of RCM midwifery societies in universities, reviewing the student midwife RCM membership offer and making recommendations for its improvement. They also have a remit to contribute to Midwives and other RCM communications.

Alongside these tasks, the forum identifies and debates issues of interest and concern to student midwives. For example, the campaign on the introduction of a fourth student loan payment for health sciences students was raised by the forum and has now been adopted as an RCM campaign.
SMF members are encouraged to engage with RCM activity at UK level and in each nation. This includes meeting with RCM country advisory boards and representing the student midwife voice in various forums.

It is recognised that the transition from student midwife to registrant can sometimes be difficult. It is therefore proposed that alumni of past SMF members are set up to offer advice and support current members. In addition, student midwife members who are interested in joining the forum, but are awaiting a vacancy, will be invited to join a virtual reference group so they can be involved in the work.

If you want to contact the SMF member for your country, visit: rcm.org.uk/college/your-career/students/student-midwives-forum

Denise Linay
RCM head of organising and engagement

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