Education and research - midwives are the pioneers for change

By RCM Research Advisors Jenny Cunningham and Jude Field Midwives NHS Pregnancy Maternity Safety Research Education RCM Education RCM Education Conference

The theme was Ensuring every voice is heard: Promoting inclusivity in education, research and midwifery care. The theme shone light on the excellent work that is being undertaken by midwives to improve care for underserved and disadvantaged women and their families. A clear message was that people from underserved groups should not be considered hard to reach. Rather a lack of access to groups of women reflects the need for skill and knowledge development within research. Panel member, Dr Asmat Syed, described her role as a specialist in community recruitment within a study team. Such people need to be part of future research teams to help address issues of inclusion.

Another thread running throughout was the fundamental importance of research within a midwife’s role. However, while midwives are familiar with the application of evidence into practice, more support is needed to help midwives conduct research, and in particular, lead on research studies. The RCM wants to support midwives when developing research during their careers. The RCM Research hub will provide helpful and inspiring information, including funding opportunities and links to the recently launched RCM research award buddy scheme.

The RCM career framework has recently been updated and includes a range of inspiring midwifery case studies showcasing midwives from across the UK, and the RCM continues to lobby for recognition of the research contribution that midwives make with funders and relevant organisations. As midwives we are experts at working around systems and processes that do not encourage midwifery led research. However, while we try to fix these systems, we must continue to be the pioneers of change.

Delegates suggested a range of midwifery research priorities, reflecting the challenges and opportunities that exist within maternity services in 2022 in relation to both experiences and outcomes for women, and working conditions for midwives. Here is the word cloud produced on the day.



Please contact RCM Research Advisors Jenny Cunningham and Jude Field if you feel that we could support you or to enquire about the RCM hosting your study in the Research Hub [email protected]