St David's Day: inspiring members in Wales

By Julie Richards, Director RCM Wales on 17 March 2023 Maternity Services RCM UK Education Midwives Midwifery Workforce MSWs - Maternity Support Workers NHS Wales RCM Wales Welsh Government

This is the first time RCM Wales had been able to host the St David’s Conference post pandemic. Our home for the day was the awe-inspiring Principality Stadium in Cardiff, a place where hopes and dreams (mostly) come to fruition and leaders are made. 

The theme for this year’s conference was Moving forward inspiring the future midwifery in Wales. It is a theme close to our hearts, ensuring we continue to nurture and grow the midwifery profession at all levels. The intended outcome of the event was to support, grow and retain those working in midwifery care. This is more important than ever as staffing shortages and pay impacts the morale and investment in career progression.

The conference gave midwives, MSWs and students in Wales the opportunity to hear from engaging and informed speakers who addressed issues specifically for those working in Wales. The day created a space for those working in maternity services in Wales to reflect on their career development, consider career mapping and how opportunity comes knocking.  

There was plenty of time for discussion, engaging with the experts in the room, sharing good practice, and opportunities to build professional networks. A range of inspirational speakers over the day shared their expertise and inspired those attending to consider the range of opportunities for career development in Wales. 

The keynote speech was provided by Sue Tranka Chief Nursing Officer for Wales who described how the strong midwifery voice in Wales is making history. Dr Jacqui Williams, from the NMC highlighted the NMC Future Midwives Standards and how they apply and influence a midwife's post registration journey.

Caitlin Wilson RCM Professional Advisor for Education and Career Development shared the recently developed RCM Early Career Hub. To finish the morning Karen Jewell Chief Midwifery Officer hosted the expert panel to share how career journeys developed to inspire everyone to take the opportunities that knock.

Karen and the panel also provided a Welsh themed light hearted debate on Welsh preferences from Welsh Cakes to Barabirth, Tom Jones Stereophonics, Cawl Lavabread to name but a few.

The conference also saw the launch of the All Wales Midwives Journal Club, a collaborative project with MIDIRS to develop the opportunity for midwives across Wales to come together and discuss all subjects linking to midwifery and maternity care. The club is free to registered midwives and student midwives and aims to support the ongoing collaborative learning and professional development of midwives across the country. 

It was a privilege that RCM President Rebeccah Davies closed the day with take home messages of the day and encouraged all to think what actions they will take to progress their career development.  With the conference being held on St David’s Day there were many celebrations of the Welsh culture and music is rooted in the Welsh identity, so it was truly fitting to finish the day with, Choirs for Good. They sang out the conference out as a huge thank you to everyone who works under pressure in maternity services. The concept for Choirs for Good is a collective of 12 community groups who encourage signing for wellbeing and their vision to spread the feel good as far as they can and bring choral music to every corner they can reach.  

The day was finished with a complimentary tour of the Principality stadium. We were really delighted to be able to welcome everyone back to the Stadium for an event that was clearly a sprinkling of Dragons and daffodils, Welsh care and song on St David’s Day and provided a platform that re-invigorated Welsh midwives and MSWs.