Midwifery students join new council at NGH

Date 15.04.2021

Midwifery students committed to ensuring their voice helps their peers, workmates and patients have joined a new support team at a local hospital.

The inaugural meeting of Northampton General Hospital (NGH) NHS Trust’s shared decision-making council for student midwives within the maternity unit was held in late January this year.

The team – comprising 10 University of Northampton (UON) students from all of the current cohorts – is led by student and Chair Tamsin Brakes and meets every other month.

The aim of the council is to collate the experiences and opinions of student midwives and turn these into actions to support students and qualified midwives with their learning and development and improve service provision and care for mothers and their families.

Tamsin explains: “There are several shared decision-making councils across NGH representing many of the departments, but none specifically by and for students as far as we are aware, although there are existing mechanisms to capture student feedback.

“We think it’s important to have our voice heard in this way because we see things from a different perspective. We want our experiences and suggestions for improvement and development to be taken into account, from a more structured and proactive stance in which we take more of a lead in doing something about things we want to change.”

Although the new council is only a few weeks old, the team are busy with a number of projects that are already getting them noticed. They have received feedback from senior staff members about their engaging and enthusiastic approach that is a “credit to the maternity department, the University and Northampton General Hospital.”

Hauwa Hamza is the Vice Chair of the council and talks about the Council’s busy workload: “We have a number of live projects. For future students, we want to create an induction booklet for each ward area plus a virtual tour of various locations where students can be placed, which will be available for them on the University’s main online learning platform. This is the main thing we are working on and we have paired up to deliver this ready for the next cohort.

“We’re looking at other things for our fellow midwives and patients, such as creating personalised cards congratulating women on their birth that is signed by the midwives who have cared for them. It might seem a little thing, but we hope it will provide them with a keepsake of what might be their most life-changing moment.”

Tamsin concludes: “I have three children so, with my studies and being the council’s Chair, you won’t be surprised that time management is at the top of my list of skills! I used to work as a teacher but quit after my third child because I knew I wanted to move into midwifery. That decision may have nearly given my partner a heart attack, but it’s a move I have been so happy with; I love all aspects of midwifery.

“I’ll be council Chair until the end of this year when I finish the course, but I already know I will have achieved quite a bit in just a few months and will handover many good things to the next generation of student midwives in Northampton.”

The council put forward an abstract to the Midlands Maternity and Midwifery Festival which has been accepted. On Tuesday 20 April, Tamsin and Hauwa will present the council’s work to an audience of their regional peers.

Find out more about the University’s Midwifery degree.