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

If you have a study that you would like the RCM to support and host on its website or would like to discuss a forthcoming piece of research, please get in touch via [email protected]. Our Research Advisors Jenny Cunningham and Jude Field are happy to discuss requests prior to submitting an application. 

The application form you will need to complete is here and all requests get considered at a meeting of Expert Clinical Advisory Group.

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 professionals, social workers and social care workers during the pandemic to formulate recommendations for improvements. If you are a midwife, employed (includes agency, bank or self-employed) in the UK during the pandemic, please share your experiences with us - click on the survey link for the questionnaire. For more information contact Patricia Gillen: [email protected].

Gwyneth Lonergan, a postdoctoral Wellcome research fellow in the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University, is undertaking a study exploring migrant women’s experiences of maternity care in Leeds, Manchester, and Kirklees.  The purpose of this study is to better understand migrant women’s experiences of maternity care, within a wider social context including increasingly strict immigration controls, funding cuts to the NHS, and local support networks.  As part of this study, she is interviewing midwives and other NHS staff who support pregnant migrants in these areas.  Interviews will take place over the phone or online and last approximately one hour.  Interviewees’ identities will be kept confidential.

If you are interested in taking part, or would like to discuss the study further, please contact Gwyneth Lonergan at: [email protected]

A qualitative PhD study amongst approximately 6-9 midwives for interviews conducted online. The aim of the study is to capture the lived experience of ethical dilemmas presenting for midwives in conscientious objection (CO) to abortion by exploring decision-making when required in employment to partake in abortion procedures. The logistical impact of CO in midwifery and medico-legal frameworks which offer guidance and support moral integrity will be examined using IPA.

Take part by calling Jacqueline Richards: [email protected] 

Ethical approval 

Ethical clearance has been achieved through Liverpool John Moores’ University Research Ethical Committee procedures, which have categorised the study as minimal risk to participants. Ref: Richards- 21/NAH/013

About the researcher 

Jacqueline Richards is a practising midwife, writer and lecturer, the researcher has a significant portfolio including publications in professional journals on case-loading, mentorship and ethics as well as writing a chapter - The Light at the End of the Tunnel, which examines recovery from eating disorders. This PhD study comprises part of her work for the Conscientious Objection to Abortion Project, based at the Dept. of Nursing and Allied Health, Liverpool John Moores University.

Adam Holliday is an optometrist looking to recruit pregnant women into a study exploring the effects of pregnancy on vision; this is part of a doctorate programme at South Bank University London. The study is entirely online and pregnant women are asked to complete a vision questionnaire in each trimester and post-partum and optionally to measure their own vision using an online tool. There is significant research literature around the pathological effects of pregnancy on the eye but little on the physiological effects on vision. The aim of the study is to help create clinical guidelines for optometrists and provide evidence-based guidance to those working with pregnant women. The study has developed and designed a purpose-built website, allowing participants to read about the study, sign up, take part and contact the researcher. It would be helpful if you could promote this study to your patients and direct them to the website www.visioninpregnancy.com.

If you have any questions or would like more information or patient leaflets, you can email Adam at: [email protected]

Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the UK (Dr Sara Borrelli, Prof Helen Spiby, Josh Downey) and the University of Milano Bicocca in Italy (Dr Antonella Nespoli, Dr Simona Fumagalli, Dr Elisabetta Colciago) are undertaking a study exploring midwives’ and mothers’ perceptions of using video calls during early labour. You are invited to participate if you are a qualified hospital midwife working in the United Kingdom or Italy. You will be invited to take part in a digitally recorded virtual focus group discussion of the approximate duration of 1 hour. We hope to include 6-8 midwives like you in each focus group.

The information we get from this study may help maternity care services shape optimal care for women and their families in the future.

You will receive a £10 voucher to thank you for your time and contribution to the study. If you would like to take part or discuss your potential participation, please contact the research team via email: [email protected].

This survey aims to assess current practice in UK maternity units for the detection of breech presentation at term. Some units are currently offering routine ultrasound scans to all women, or groups of women, to avoid undiagnosed breech presentation during labour. However, the rollout and use of such scanning in the UK is currently unknown. The aim of this survey is to understand how practice differs between NHS Trusts or Health Boards. This information will be helpful to assess the feasibility of implementing ultrasound screening as a tool to diagnose breech presentation at term. The aim is not to promote ultrasound screening at term, but to understand current practice across the UK.

The survey is being carried out by researchers at the University of Aberdeen and Cardiff University. We would be grateful if you could tell us about current practice at your maternity unit by clicking on the link to complete the survey.

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.

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]

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.

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.

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]

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 a midwife interested in Fitness to Practice (FtP)? I am a midwife undertaking a PhD, exploring midwives’ experiences of working after an NMC FtP referral. I hope my research will lead to a better understanding of midwives’ experiences and needs following the FtP process.

Would you like to be involved?

Are you a midwife who has been referred to the NMC fitness to practice process, had the referral concluded within the last 5 years and were eligible to work as a midwife following the FtP (were not removed from the register)?

What would be involved?

If you agree to take part, you will be interviewed by me, via an online video call. Your identity and the information you share for this study will be treated confidentially. The research is independent from the NMC. My PhD is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) and the School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham.

Would you like to receive further information? 

Contact Alison Corr [email protected] Twitter @AlisonCorr2

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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