Giving the gift of poetry to midwives and nurses

By Colin Beesley on 19 July 2021 Midwives Newly Qualified Midwives Scotland RCM Scotland

The wisdom of the bards is being used to support the wellbeing of newly qualified midwives and nurses in Scotland, who will be given a free poetry anthology when they graduate. The book, called ‘Mind Your Life: Poems for Nurses and Midwives’, has been supported by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and produced in collaboration with the Scottish Poetry Library (SPL) and other health organisations. It will be sent to those graduating in Scotland this year and in 2022 and 2023.

“The idea behind this is to provide some emotional support and comfort via inspirational poetry during the first year in the job,” said Dr Mary Ross-Davie, the RCM’s former Director for Scotland and now its Director for Professional Midwifery, who wrote the book’s preface. “Of course, this won’t solve all the challenges of that sometimes difficult first year and lots of other support services such as preceptorship are also there for midwives. It might though just help people to relax on a break during a busy shift, or to wind-down at home afterwards. Escaping into literature can be a great way to relieve some of the stress of the job, and the book and the ideas behind it fit really well into our RCM ‘Caring for You’ campaign, which aims to improve the workplace wellbeing of student midwives, midwives and maternity support workers.” 

The pocket-sized book is supported by many active in the health profession, literature, philanthropy, and celebrities including singer Susan Boyle and Game of Thrones actor Emilia Clarke. “It is vital that we show nurses and midwives the love and appreciation they deserve, and I couldn’t think of a more beautiful offering than this collection of magic to remind them why they are integral to our collective lives, to every nurse and midwife in the world, we thank you,” Emilia said.

This anthology follows similar books for new doctors and teachers. “Through this pandemic, we have witnessed poetry’s growing popularity for expressing and sharing themes and inspiring words related to wellbeing and togetherness. By engaging with poetry in this way, we all can better nurture our resilience and develop our emotional intelligence,” said the SPL’s Director, Asif Khan. “Recipients have welcomed the pocket-sized books gifted to graduating doctors, teachers, and now nurses and midwives. It is heartening that many of these professionals continue to use the poems in their day-to-day reflective practice, and also reading for pleasure.”

The book is available to buy online at

For information on the RCM’s Caring for You campaign visit