Celebrating MSWs

By Keelie Barrett MSW advocate, workplace representative and RCM Board member on 24 November 2023 RCM UK Research Safety Women Staffing Levels

MSW advocate, workplace representative and RCM Board member Keelie Barrett celebrates MSW Day, reflecting on the past and future of support workers with hope for the workforce and appreciation for everything MSWs do in her latest blog.

On MSW Celebration Day I find myself reflecting on the previous year and looking to the year ahead. This year I’ve seen the difficulties that maternity services have continued to experience with staffing pressures. But there is hope. I also witnessed the growing number of specialised MSW roles in areas such as infant feeding, health promotion and in education.

I myself have had a couple of personal highs this year, successfully gaining a specialist MSW role as an MSW clinical educator and achieving re-election to the RCM Board.

It was also wonderful to attend the first MSW conference hosted by Birmingham City University this year, where I had the pleasure of meeting many inspirational MSWs who work in a variety of different MSW roles from across England.

In September I was also delighted to welcome new board colleagues onto the RCM board including Cherylene Dougan who is an MSW from Scotland. It’s great to know that the MSW voice will continue to be reflected on the board when my tenure ends.

The graduation of the first cohort of midwifery apprentices also offers great hope for the future of midwifery and maternity services by providing a viable career development opportunity for many experienced MSWs who do want to become midwives, and eliminating the obstacle of losing their existing income while they train.

Alongside this there has been work taking place to refresh the MSW career framework to ensure it remains current and aligns with the new apprenticeship standards. Both will offer MSWs career progression opportunities and enable them to flourish in their chosen career paths.

MSW celebration day is a wonderful opportunity for RCM branches and NHS organisations to celebrate all MSWs and the vital and varied roles they have within maternity services.

My own branch has celebrated in many ways over the years; from goodie bags, to thank you boards, prize draws to breakfast trolleys. But for me regardless of what event you may choose to hold MSW celebration day is an opportunity to show MSWs they are appreciated. Now more than ever with the pressure’s services are under its important we make that time to support and appreciate each other, work as one team, looking after each other always.

I look forward to the year ahead, the challenges as well as the triumphs and wish you all a wonderful MSW Celebration Day whatever you do.