RCM board: the benefits of experience

By Giuseppe Labriola, Kate Evans, Tracy Miller, Julie Richards on 03 September 2018 Midwives Magazine RCM Board Elections

The role of the RCM board

Ensuring the RCM is efficient and effective, properly managed, supervised and accountable are just a few of the responsibilities of the RCM board. Ultimately, its members are responsible for the broad strategic direction and control of the RCM, setting a long-term vision, ensuring clarity of the College’s purpose and protecting its reputation and values.

In 2017 this meant ensuring the RCM campaigned with the Family Planning Association, British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Amnesty International and others to give women in Northern Ireland access to free abortion services, for example. The RCM board also set in motion work on a career framework for midwives and MSWs, and oversaw the recruitment of CEO and general secretary Gill Walton.

All members of the board are practising midwives who have been elected by members of the RCM. They must have been full members of the RCM for at least three years and possess the core competencies required.

To apply for election to the board, complete the RCM’s self-nomination/eligibility declaration form, send your CV to the RCM, and prepare an election address for the RCM to distribute with voting papers. The assessment process for 2019 will take place at the end of March, with the election scheduled to take place in April. For more information, visit our RCM Board page.

The RCM Board 2018

Julie Richards (chair)
Natalie Linder (vice chair)
Giuseppe Labriola
Kate Evans
Tracy Miller
Helene Marshall
Michelle Beacock
Birte Harlev-Lam
Pauline Twigg

Giuseppe Labriola

HoM, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

I’ve learnt a lot about the wider issues facing midwives and support staff around the UK during the year I’ve been on the RCM board. It has been great to get a strategic overview of what people are talking about nationally.

I’m really looking forward to working with the executive team, getting out there to talk to members, get feedback and really move the strategy on over the next five years.

My passion is to ensure that the staff in my trust have a positive experience of work and women and their families have safe and positive experiences of our maternity services. I enjoy meeting with women to get their feedback and working with staff to make sure that our service is safe, high quality and they have a good experience too.

The negative side is that there are never enough hours in the day, it’s a huge job. But it’s me and I can’t think of anything else I would rather do.

My perfect weekend is really simple – a nice coffee, catching up with emails and meeting friends. I also like cycling and taking my motorbike out.

Kate Evans

Public health specialist midwife, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

During the year I have been an RCM board member I’ve learnt how diverse our responsibilities are and how they draw on our strengths and attributes. I also realise how hard the executive team works behind the scenes.

I’d like us to get the election process underway to welcome new board members in 2019 and launch our new strategy for the next five years.

The most important lesson I’ve learnt is patience! Change doesn’t happen overnight and I’ve had to adapt to that.

I absolutely love midwifery and work with some amazing midwives and associated health professionals, and I love the fact that being a board member means I have the opportunity to make OUR RCM better for those midwives and MSWs.

But if I hadn’t gone into midwifery I might have become a car detailer – my main hobby is cars and I take part in concours competitions, which have made me very adept at car cleaning and detailing! My perfect weekend would involve a car show with our closest friends cleaning cars all weekend in preparedness for judging.

Tracy Miller

Community midwife in Stonehaven for NHS Grampian (currently on secondment for one year as a caseworker with the RCM Scotland team)

I’d like the RCM board to raise its profile and show midwives from all areas that this is something they can do to benefit their personal development, career and communication skills.

I have been a board member for a year and I have learnt to listen to everyone’s views and ensure my view is also listened to and to challenge when my gut feels something is not quite right.

As a caseworker I’ve learnt that so many midwives are going above and beyond their roles to care for women but it’s not sustainable – they are burning out and we really need to fight their corner for more resources.

Having said that, the best thing about my job is meeting new people all the time and trying to support them as best I can.

If I hadn’t gone into midwifery I probably would have been a nurse, as that is what I was before doing midwifery. However, I’ve always liked the idea of being a beautician.

My perfect weekend is a long lie-in, a walk on the beach, then dinner and a gin and tonic. 

Julie Richards

Head of midwifery and sexual health, Powys Teaching Health Board

I joined the board in 2015 and it has been an amazing leadership opportunity. I have learnt so much about good governance, financial management, supporting a new CEO to join the organisation and most recently as the new chair to the board. It has been great development learning from other board members and the RCM executive team in the skills and knowledge that each person has to offer.

Over the next year I’d like to see the recently developed RCM five-year strategy to be very visual, clear and understandable, and very much owned by the members. I’d also like a range of members, including MSWs, to be interested in standing for election to the board in 2019.

The most important lesson I have learnt over the last year is to be brave and bold to have the courage to put myself forward. In five years’ time I hope to be looking from afar at how well the board has delivered on the five-year strategy.

My perfect weekend would be walking in beautiful Powys, followed by relaxing with friends and family over a home-cooked dinner.