UON Midwifery student is ‘lady with the lamp’ for next European event

Date 4.06.2024

A student midwife is returning a ‘learning favour’ by joining a crack team creating a European-wide annual meeting set to take place next Spring.

Diana Sarkyova hails from Bulgaria at the beginning of the second year of her degree in Midwifery at University of Northampton (UON). She talks about the differences she has witnessed between midwifery provision at home and in the UK: “We have midwives, my mother is a midwife, and she has been part of my inspiration to become a midwife. In Bulgaria, midwives are more hands-off than here in the UK. The doctor – the obstetrician – is more in charge of everything.”

Alongside her class-based learning and practice placement, Diana is busy adding another string to her professional bow – events communications – after an enlightening trip to Greece this year.

Along with staff and students from the Faculty of Health, Education and Society, Diana represented the University at the 31st Florence Network Annual Meeting (FNAM) held last month at the University of Thessaly in Greece.

The theme of the event was ‘Strengthening Resilience through Educational and Digital Innovation’ and it provided a platform for educators and professionals from across Europe to come together, exchange ideas, and collaborate on improving educational systems.

Diana (pictured on the left with Nursing student Kayleigh Whalley) had the chance to meet and connect with educators and students from different backgrounds and cultures, fostering new relationships and collaborations.

She says: “I loved the opportunity of going to the meeting. I met many people and learned about the differences between the countries and what midwives do. I had an education myself! I attended an IVF treatment in Greece and heard about their process and what happens; that was fascinating.

While in Greece, Diana received confirmation of a new opportunity – she is part of the Florence Network’s events board in charge of delivering next year’s annual meeting.

Diana adds: “The board role was mentioned at a University student event some time ago. I thought it was way out of my comfort zone, but I spoke about it with a friend and thought, ‘why not apply?’ It was great to be selected and I’m in charge of the monthly newsletter, which is one of the main means the Network communicates to its members.

“When I published my first newsletter – it felt incredible! I love how it looked as I had to get so much information into a small space. It’s a very specific skill, keeping your writing nice and tight, so I think this has been one of my biggest achievements so far.”

Of her time so far at UON, Diana says: “I thought my Mum was my primary inspiration to becoming a midwife, but I think it was something within me anyway, too. You’re changing somebody’s life, you’re there for that most important life transition. You’re seeing a family being created or extended and the happiness, their lives have changed forever. It’s such a rewarding role; after my first witnessed delivery, I think I was more emotional than the parents!

“I’m enjoying the placements the most. They are amazing experiences! My plans for the immediate future, after I’ve graduated, are to work in the NHS and, eventually, use my knowledge and skills to open my support service. I’d like to educate people about the importance of managing the many different conditions that affect pregnancy, like diabetes.

“Attending the Conference and being part of the Network has opened my eyes. I was so impressed by the difference in education system, and I want to help other midwives learn about the profession and what they can learn from our European colleagues.”

Find out more about Midwifery and Nursing degrees at University of Northampton.

Find out more about the Florence Network.