Research Strategy

The NMC’s standards of proficiency for midwives set significant standards in relation to research and the use of evidence. Our Research Strategy indicates the determination of the RCM to be an organisation that has research evidence at its core and that is committed to enhancing the research capacity and capability of midwives for the benefit of women, babies and families.

Current studies

Working through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: an examination of mental wellbeing, burnout, work-related quality of life and coping across the health and social care workforce. This research explores the health and wellbeing of nurses, midwives, allied healthcare professional’s (AHPs), social workers and social care workers in UK during the pandemic to formulate recommendations for improvements. If you are a midwife, employed (this includes agency or bank work) or self-employed in the UK during the COVID-9 pandemic, please share your experiences with us by completing a short survey. Please click on the survey link for further information and the questionnaire (it takes around 15 minutes to complete), alternatively visit the blog on the MIDIRS website to scan the QR code. For more information about this project, please contact Patricia Gillen: [email protected].

Exploring consent in midwifery practice: a survey of midwives working in the United Kingdom - Rachel Martin (nee Elf) is a practising midwife researching the knowledge and understanding of midwives regarding the process of gaining consent from pregnant women as part of her MSc in Women's Health at UCL. This study is seeking practising midwives in the United Kingdom aged 21 or above to take part in a 15 minute survey that will establish the role of the midwife in gaining consent and determining how midwives approach gaining consent in their clinical practice.

Are you involved in the care of pregnant women with epilepsy? Epilepsy has consistently been identified as one of the leading causes of maternal deaths according to MBRRACE-UK reports. Researchers at the University of Birmingham are undertaking the first ever effort to map the care of pregnant women with epilepsy in the UK to help inform policy-makers, training and future research on epilepsy in pregnancy. They are asking midwives, neurologists, obstetricians and nurses to take part in this short 5-10 minute survey

Have you experience of engaging prospective dads around their mental health? - Robert Barrett is a doctoral student at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) looking to recruit qualified midwives for individual telephone interviews. Participants will be asked about their experiences of, and thoughts on, engaging new fathers around mental health during the antenatal period. If you are interested in participating or would like to know more, please contact Robert at [email protected].

The NOURISH study aims to assess the nutritional intake, wellbeing and pregnancy outcomes of women experiencing severe pregnancy sickness, alongside a comparison group of pregnant women with mild or no sickness. Suitable participants will be less than 11 weeks pregnant, over 18 years old and living in the UK. An online questionnaire will be sent and a link to an electronic food diary app to record dietary intake on three occasions during pregnancy. A final brief questionnaire will be sent approximately two weeks after the birth. To register their interest women should fill out the form here. To find out more please visit: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/schools/school-of-nursing-and-midwifery/nourish  or email [email protected].

Management of hypertension in pregnancy- an online survey of midwives in the UK - Layla Lavallee is a research midwife investigating ways to improve the care of women with hypertensive disease in pregnancy (HDP). She says: “We would like to understand what usual care of women with HDP currently looks like and what midwives think about potential models of care involving blood pressure self-monitoring and management. We have recently conducted a similar survey among obstetricians and it is important that midwives' perspectives are equally represented. The online survey should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete and does not have to be done all in one go. The findings will be used to inform the development of further research. If you would like more information regarding the survey, please contact me at [email protected]. Thank you”

Breastfeeding and return to work - Dr Hollie Hearfield and Dr Jennie Collier, Liverpool Women’s Hospital, are undertaking a study into breastfeeding and return to work. They say: “many women working in the NHS will choose to breastfeed at some point in their careers and should be given adequate support. Unfortunately, current evidence suggests that this is not happening, nor are women being supported in other ways following a period of maternity leave. We would love to hear about your own experiences of returning to work from maternity leave. This information will be used to help improve the experiences of others. We cannot support our patients until we are fully supported ourselves. Thank you for supporting your NHS colleagues.” Here is a link to the survey.

Are you involved in antenatal or newborn screening scans, tests or counselling? - Researchers at the University of Oxford are recruiting midwives for individual telephone interviews to talk about their experiences providing antenatal and/or newborn screenings. Participants will be asked to describe the beneficial and harmful aspects of the current screening system and will receive a payment for their contributions to the project. If you are interested in learning more, visit the webpage or contact Dr Ashley White at [email protected]

How can maternity services better support autistic women? - Sara King, a PhD student who is undertaking this study is looking for midwives, MSWs and others who work in maternity services to answer her survey into their experiences of supporting autistic women.  The online survey takes about 15 minutes to complete. Please contact Sara if you have any queries or would like the survey in a different format [email protected]. She hopes her research will lead to a better understanding of the experiences and needs of autistic people and potentially shape training and services.

The Drug Safety Research Unit is undertaking a study into the safety of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine - they are interested in hearing from midwives to take part in an online questonnaire. You can express your interest either before or after vaccination here.

Strategies to improve iodine status in pregnancy: a qualitative study examining the knowledge and confidence of midwives providing dietary advice - Dr Lucy Kayes is undertaking a PhD at Queen’s University, Belfast and is seeking midwives and those involved in academic midwifery to complete a one-to-one interview covering the topic of nutrition in pregnancy, focusing on iodine. The interview will take approximately 30 minutes and can be carried out via telephone or teleconferencing applications. Please click for a poster. If you are interested in participating contact Lucy Kayes at [email protected]

Pear Study: dietary exposure to toxic metals - Dr Caroline Taylor is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol. She would like to hear from midwives about how they provide information on diet during pregnancy, particularly on foods to limit or avoid altogether. The information that you give will help to find out what the best ways are to provide information and will inform future guidance on diet. Filling in the online questionnaire will take you about 15 minutes. For more information visit the Pear Study website or contact [email protected] if you are interested in participating.

PAN-COVID registry study - Midwife Alison Perry of Imperial College is the project manager of the PAN-COVID registry study. This is a world-wide endeavour to understand the clinical picture of COVID-19 in pregnant women and neonates. The PAN-COVID project is not only important to our collective understanding of the virus in pregnancy, but it also makes a very practical way to involve midwives in research.

New mum study - Professor Mary Fewtrell and colleagues at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health are running an online survey to collect information on the experiences of mothers during different stages of the lockdown, the COVID-19 New Mum Study. They are asking midwives to share this anonymous online survey with women with an infant under 12 months, there are questions around birth and infant feeding and it takes 15-20 minutes to complete. The study team is particularly keen to hear from women from BAME communities as they are currently underrepresented in the responses that they have received.

The RCM, alongside other organisations, offers scholarships to support midwives' professional development with the aim of encouraging individuals to conduct research, undertake continuing professional development or to enable innovation of changes in practice.

Clinical Academic Career Advisory Service The NIHR Nursing & Midwifery Incubator in partnership with the Research Design Service has created a virtual advisory service to help aspiring clinical academic nurses and midwifes to advance their research careers. The service is first being piloted in 3 regions in England: North West, East Midlands and the South East. The pilot will run and be evaluated for about 6 months before it is rolled out to all other areas of England. The service is initially available in the above pilot regions only and is accessed by completing an online enquiry form.

The service is particularly aimed at those developing applications for one of the research training opportunities offered through HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic ProgrammeNIHR Fellowships programme and other research funding initiatives.

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