Job profile – Become a Midwife

Careers 2019

Entry level: 6

Qualifications and courses

All midwives must hold a degree in midwifery that has been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Entry requirements for degree courses depend upon the individual university but you will usually need 2 A levels/3 H grades, ideally including a science-based subject, and 5 GCSEs/National 5s (C or above, or 4 or above in England), including English, Maths and a science subject. Relevant pre-entry experience is a distinct advantage. A degree in midwifery lasts 3 years when studied on a full-time basis and all applicants must obtain clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before commencing their training.

If you do not have the required GCSEs/National 5s or A levels/H grades, some universities will accept other qualifications, such as a BTEC in Health and Social Care (Levels 2–3) or an Access to Higher Education Diploma in a science or health-related subject.

Those who have already qualified as an adult nurse and are currently registered with the NMC have the option of taking a shorter 18-month course to become a midwife.

You are eligible to register as a midwife with the NMC once you have completed an approved midwifery degree. Midwives are expected to engage in continuing professional development (CPD) throughout their career to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

What the work involves

Midwives help and support women and their partners from early pregnancy, through the antenatal period, during the labour and birth, and also for up to a month after the baby has been born.

You will be responsible for monitoring your patient throughout her pregnancy, providing advice and support on issues including nutrition, methods of childbirth and breastfeeding.

You will deliver babies or assist in the birthing process. You will also be responsible for identifying high risk pregnancies and arranging specialist care and provision where necessary.

Type of person suited to this work

You must be an excellent communicator as it is essential to form a good relationship with patients, their partners and other healthcare professionals. You need to be friendly and caring in order to gain the trust and confidence of the women under your guidance.

As childbirth is strenuous, messy and unpredictable, you should be able to stay calm under pressure, think on your feet and have good mental and physical stamina.

You need careful attention to detail when carrying out your work and completing patient notes.

Working conditions

You will usually work 37 hours a week and these will include evening, night and weekend work. You may also be on-call at times. Part-time work and flexible hours are frequently available.

You could be based in the maternity unit of a hospital or in a birth centre. Midwives are also increasingly affiliated with GP surgeries and other health centres.

You will probably spend time travelling from your place of work to your patients’ homes so a driving licence would be helpful.

Future prospects

There is currently a shortage of midwives, and so the job is in demand in the UK. The Royal College of Midwives reports a need for 3,500 more midwives in England. In response to this, the government is boosting the number of places on midwifery training courses. More than 3,000 new places will be created over the next 4 years.

In the NHS, midwives can progress to a senior level as a team leader or midwife consultant. You could take further training that would allow you to specialise in an area that particularly interests you, or to move into a related profession such as neonatal nursing.

Other opportunities include undertaking research, or training and teaching student midwives.

Advantages/disadvantages

Supporting women and families through pregnancy and childbirth is both rewarding and fulfilling.

This job can be distressing as you will have to deal with complications in pregnancy and labour.

Money guide

The starting salary for a newly qualified midwife is between £23,023 and £29,608.

As you gain experience, you can expect to earn up to £36,644.

Those in a senior position, such as a midwife team manager, typically earn £33,222 to £43,041.

If you specialise or become a midwife consultant, you could earn up to £71,243.

Salaries are usually higher in London and allowances for on-call duties can increase earnings.

Further information

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Royal College of Midwives

Job profile from Careers 2019 (9781911067894).

Photo by wang dongxu on Unsplash

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