Every year on 5th of May Midwives around the world come together to celebrate international day of the midwife and recognise the work we do across the globe in caring for women and their families throughout their unique and very special journey. As midwives our ultimate role is to provide safe, effective care of the highest standards to every woman and her family throughout all aspects of the childbirth continuum.
It is our passion; it is our pride to do this yet in doing so it often leads us to breaking point. Reflected within the harrowing blog published on http://www.sheenabyrom.com/blog/when-midwives-are-broken entitled ‘When midwives are broken”
This story is written by a newly qualified, who, after only 4 months in the profession despite good support has for the first time had to be signed off sick from work due to stress and burnout.
‘I am completely heartbroken at my inability to give the kind of quality care women deserve due to staffing issues and chronic overworking… Despite feedback from women within the unit in which I work being some of the most positive in the UK, the price in which is paid for this is the health and wellbeing of the staff members’
This experience is unfortunately not unique, many midwives feel this way. We often spend time complaining about the pressures we face, but we never provide solutions. So we are left thinking, what can we do?
What better way than ‘International Day of the Midwife’ for us to all come together and address ways in which we can care and support one another, maintaining and promoting resilience and self-preservation.
Throughout the last 8 months, Kerry Taylor (former preceptorship support midwife and current midwifery lecturer) has been collaborating with midwives throughout the UK writing articles for the Practising Midwife Journal Basics Series around preceptorship. Focussing on ways in which both newly qualified midwives and more experienced midwives can support each other resulting in better care for women. In the final article of the series entitled ‘Resilience and self preservation, Taking care of one another’, Kerry Taylor and Megan Blease (also a former preceptorship support midwife and current midwifery lecturer) focussed on the promotion of a positive workplace culture and building each other up.
Leading on from this article Kerry Taylor and Megan Blease hosted a 12 hour BLOG/VLOG on behalf of #wemidwives. During this all day chat we connected to midwives throughout the world asking them ‘what do we do to care for one another?’ Through amazing VLOGs and tweets we learnt that midwives care for each other through social networking, group support and talking to each other. Student midwives and newly qualified midwives developed networks with others in a similar role to collaborate and reflect together during training and preceptorship programmes. From experienced midwives we learnt that they looked out for each other by ensuring they were approachable in providing support to others.
The questions of ‘How do we build resilience?’ and ‘how do we maintain self-preservation?’ were also addressed and many responded with a positive vibe of spreading ‘love’, ‘kindness’ and ‘protection’. Throughout the day it was clear that it was the little things that made all the difference such as reliving colleagues for their breaks, being approachable and communicating with each other more effectively. If we do not preserve our own and others wellbeing how can we expect to constantly provide high standards of care to women and their families?
The 5th of May highlighted to importance of working together, building each other up to recognise the strong, motivated and resilient professionals that we are. That ultimately we all wish to do the very best for others that we often neglect ourselves.
From this inspirational all day long chat we reached out to almost 1 million people, spreading the word that in order to effectively care for ourselves and fellow midwives we need positivity, collaboration and kindness. Ending with the quote to ‘be strong as you never know who you are inspiring’, We are all inspiring each other every day in the amazing work that we do, yet we need to tell each other more. To be role models for each other by building each other up and have the confidence and ability to make change for midwives everywhere. We work so hard to create the best possible care experience for women and families. It is about time that as midwives we stand together and create better are for ourselves and each other.
Please see the full blog that Megan & Kerry did on the day of International Day of The Midwife: http://www.wecommunities.org/tweet-chats/chat-details/2760