MSW voice: Championing MSWs

By Michelle Jenner on 07 March 2018 Midwives Magazine MSW advocates MSWs - Maternity Support Workers MSW Month

Michelle Jenner shares how she became an MSW advocate and organised her first event.

I started my role as an msw advocate 18 months ago after a colleague and RCM rep encouraged me, as she felt our maternity unit would benefit from having a voice for MSWs. Unsure of what it entailed, I filled out the form and attended the RCM study day for the MSW advocate – which I found really helpful – and was encouraged to chat with our MSWs, who felt the same.

The turning point for me was the announcement of MSW month. Our Luton branch was soon discussing what we could do that would be of interest, fun and, of course, involve cake! It felt quite a daunting task initially, as I had never organised an event, but with support from my RCM branch members, especially union learning rep Mary Edmondson, the event was a success.

I arranged for internal and external speakers to give updates on current developments of interest and topics appropriate to MSW staff, as well as clerical staff who are also RCM members. Speakers included our librarian, our specialist feeding midwife, our practice facilitator midwife, our HoM and our IT midwife, who gave a very informative update as we are currently in the process of changing over from paper notes to electronic history bookings. RCM head of organising and engagement Denise Linay gave feedback on the MSW survey, and we had an interesting presentation from the literacy and numeracy department.

The presentations were followed by afternoon tea, served by midwives. Many of the cakes were made by midwives to say thank you to the hardworking MSW teams. This also provided time for people to socialise with each other and to look at the presentation boards. A popular board was a thank you poster – I had asked the midwives to write a few words about what a difference having an MSW on shift made to them. I was overwhelmed by the response, as were the other MSW staff, and the poster is now displayed on our RCM board in the delivery suite.

As part of MSW month, I devised a folder for each department giving information on how and why to join the RCM. It contains information on myself and how to contact me, application forms and information on i-learn and i-folio, as well as the benefits on joining.

I also held an early breakfast run for the maternity department, taking round fresh juice and pastries, all gratefully received by the night staff – and a few more MSWs were recruited. 

Michelle Jenner is an MSW advocate at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital