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Midwifery

Midwives may be based within hospital settings, in clinics, or within people’s homes, providing the crucial support and care that women need throughout their pregnancies, labour and the early stages after their child’s birth.

Experts in their field, midwives have a diverse range of responsibilities in helping pregnant women and their families throughout normal or low-risk pregnancies. Whilst specially trained to care for women throughout the whole pregnancy, for complicated, or higher-risk pregnancies, a midwife may work with doctors to provide the full level of care needed for the patient.

Midwife services including a range of antenatal care (such as screenings and examinations, identifying any high-risk or unusual pregnancies, preparation for parenthood and so on) as well as supporting and monitoring of the individuals during childbirth. Their expertise will be also be applied during the immediate few days post-birth, helping new mothers to care for their new-born baby (including feeding and bathing them for example) after which point a health visitor will usually take over for up to a month after the birth.

You can find out more about the responsibilities of specific roles within midwifery, and some guidance on entry requirements for applications, below:

Maternity Support Worker

Supporting, and working under the supervision of, Midwives, Maternity Support Workers help care for mothers and babies by:

  • Making routine assessments and observations (e.g. blood pressure, temperature, pulse etc)
  • Taking blood samples for testing
  • Preparing relevant equipment
  • Educating parents (including on topics like breastfeeding) in groups or one-to-one
  • …and more!

This role may also be referred to as Midwifery Assistant or Maternity Healthcare Support Worker and usually will be based within post-natal wards, maternity theatres and delivery suites – or within the community.

Typical entry requirements:

  • Requirements vary based on specific role and employer, as the necessary training you need will usually be supplied by your employer
  • GCSEs or equivalent qualifications are very advantageous for entry-level posts or courses
  • A health and social care, nursery nurse or childcare qualification (such as NVQ, BTEC, NNEB, CACHE) may be required
  • Experience of working with children or families on a paid or voluntary basis is usually beneficial

MIDWIFE

Midwives are an essential role providing care and support to women throughout their pregnancies, labour, and for a time after they have given birth. They are usually the lead healthcare contact for mothers, to help them make informed decisions about their available options throughout pregnancy, for childbirth and early stages of parenting. This might be within hospitals but increasingly is based out in the community (i.e., within homes, local clinics, GP surgeries or children’s centres).

This role usually includes delivering parenting classes, examinations and other screening tasks through pregnancy, full support during labour, and helping new mothers caring for their new baby. Midwives are also trained to offer support and advice including on difficult physical, emotional and psychological issues associated with pregnancy, such as miscarriage, termination, stillbirth and neonatal death or abnormalities.

Typical entry requirements:

  • Completion of undergraduate or post-graduate degree or diploma – or a midwifery degree apprenticeship
  • For undergraduate courses, 2 or 3 A-Levels (or equivalent, such as an advanced GNVQ or Level 3 NVQ) / 5 GCSEs (A-C/4-9) including English language/literature and a science

Nursery Nurse

Often based within a hospital, Nursery Nurses work with young patients (usually of pre-school age) and their families – or they may work in hospital nurseries supervising and looking after the children of staff. This could include anything from ensuring the children are safe, happy, and stimulated (and that their development is supported) through play, looking after children through clinical procedures, providing support for carers and parents, and working to find ways to better stimulate and communicate with children with special and sensory needs (or perhaps those that have been abused, in the case of qualified Nursery Nurses). 

Nursery Nurses may also be based within the community, such as in health centres, children’s centres or community centres – or making home visits alongside health visitors.

Typical entry requirements:

  • Requirements vary based on specific role and employer, as no set requirements for this role
  • GCSEs or equivalent qualifications are very advantageous for entry-level posts or courses, or good levels of numeracy and literacy
  • Some employers may request a childcare NVQ or BTEC
  • Experience of working with children or families on a paid or voluntary basis is usually beneficial
  • Apprenticeships are also available in childcare-related roles