Listening to midwives, listening to women

By RCM Shared Voices Network chair Emma Taylor on 12 August 2022 NHS MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Safety Maternity Safety

The definition of the word listen is ‘to give attention to someone or something in order to hear’. So often in modern life, people listen in order that they can identify when they can speak, regardless of what is being said to them. The true art of listening is to listen in order to hear and understand another point of view, a skill that is often called active listening, because it can only be done with intention and in a deliberate and positive way.

Why am I telling you this? Because that is the ethos that underpins the creation of the new RCM Shared Voices Network – listening deliberately to truly hear and understand the voices of midwives, MSWs, service users, and RCM staff in order to create a network that will collaborate in and drive forward the work of the College.

As Chair, I am tasked with scoping and creating this new network, and I have already begun by listening to key staff within the RCM, hearing what they do and how the voices of midwives, MSWs, and service users could enhance and augment the work that takes place across the organisation.

The next step is to listen to you – the RCM’s members. Your voices are key in helping decide what the Shared Voices Network will look like, what it will do, and who it will do it with.

I am inviting you to join a series of conversation groups online, to share your opinions and thoughts on how your voices and those of maternity services users could be best used in informing and shaping the work of the RCM. I want to hear what is important to you, and what you want to be involved in.

In this way we will cocreate the Shared Voices Network and ensure it is a unique collection of voices that will bring value to the RCM’s work and ensure everyone who needs to be, is heard.

If this feels vague, it is because there are no preconceived ideas, no already decided format for this network. We are finding our way together, mapping out our collective minds and seeing where we end up. This is true coproduction. It is messy at first, and maybe a bit scary, but ultimately it will ensure the Shared Voices Network is both what is needed and what is wanted, because we will shape it together.

If you would like to be part of this exciting project, please email me on [email protected] to find out more and to become part of this series of conversations.