Supporting student midwives on the neonatal unit

by Karen Devine, midwife    As a midwife on a busy neonatal unit (NNU), I am constantly aware that not only are parents and families who use the facility out of their comfort zones, but also the student midwives who come for experience can feel this way, too. I have been there! I remember the daunting […]

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Relationship-based continuity of carer: informed choice for mothers AND midwives

There can be no doubt that we should be implementing relationship-based continuity of carer for most women and their babies. The evidence has been mounting over years and is compelling: there are few developments that offer so much benefit, with fewer risks (See http://www.gtc.ox.ac.uk/images/stories/academic/skp_report.pdf). It is difficult to understand why this evidence is still seen […]

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navigating spaces:


fetal navigation techniques “I turned my OP baby and regulated my own contractions in an hour, directly avoiding induction and possibly other interventions. This was my second labour, which from this point on flowed smoothly to a physiological birth in just a few hours. My first baby had also started labour in a less than […]

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The birth of our humanity

  ‘A child is born’ …and then? How will that life unfold? Will this baby be well and healthy at birth, with a mother who has been wrapped around in loving care, not only in her childhood and life, but also in pregnancy, labour, birth and the early weeks of life? Will this baby be […]

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Student Survival Guide: 2. Practice Placements

STUDENT SURVIVAL GUIDE 2: Practice placements In the second article of this new series, Afshan Ali and Anna Matthews provide advice on how to approach practice placements. This includes practical tips on what to take with you and what might be expected of you when you get there, as well as how to prepare for […]

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Articles - Basics

Midwifery Basics: 8. Becoming An Accountable Midwife

MIDWIFERY BASICS 8. Becoming an accountable midwife In the final article of the series, Jancis Shepherd explores some of the challenges of becoming an accountable practitioner. Becoming a midwife is the 16th series of ‘Midwifery basics’ targeted at practising midwives and midwifery students. The aim of these articles is to provide information to raise awareness […]

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Articles - Basics

Midwifery Basics: 5. Professional Issues In Practice

MIDWIFERY BASICS 5. Professional Issues In Practice In this fifth article of the series, Jancis Shepherd explores issues of supervision of student midwives in perineal suturing, the practical and legal implications of misadministration of medicines and accountability issues. Jancis Shepherd Lead Midwife for Education at University of West London SCENARIO Jane is the Supervisor of […]

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Midwifery Basics: 4. Promoting professional behaviour in practice

MIDWIFERY BASICS 4.Promoting professional behaviour in practice In this fourth article of the series, Jancis Shepherd discusses the issues of maintaining confidentiality, use of social media and veracity of students’ practice assessment documents, to demonstrate the need to uphold the NMC Code (2015a) in clinical practice. Becoming a midwife is the 16th series of ‘Midwifery […]

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Midwifery Basics – Becoming A Midwife: 2. Professionalism, Public Confidence And Course Application

MIDWIFERY BASICS Becoming a midwife: 2. Professionalism, public confidence and course application In this second article of the series, Jancis Shepherd considers why professionalism is an issue in maintaining public confidence, why midwives need to demonstrate good health and good character and how applicants are selected for midwifery courses to meet these attributes. Becoming a […]

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Midwifery Basics: Becoming A Midwife – 1. Developing As A Professional

MIDWIFERY BASICS: Becoming a midwife 1. Developing as a professional In the first of this new series, Jancis Shepherd offers a definition of professionalism, and considers the qualities and attributes required of a professional in this role. Becoming a midwife is the 16th series of ‘Midwifery basics’ targeted at practising midwives and midwifery students. The […]

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Articles - Basics

The miracle of fertilisation – life begins

MIDWIFERY BASICS Physiology The miracle of fertilisation – life begins It is important for midwives to understand fertilisation in order to consider: the impact on events in pregnancy; causes of infertility and failed pregnancy; measures to promote fertility such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), amongst many other scientific developments; and finally in terms of preventing […]

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Articles - Basics

Midwifery supervision: 2. Role of the supervisor of midwives

MIDWIFERY BASICS Mentoring 2. Role of the supervisor of midwives Midwifery supervision is the 13th series of ‘Midwifery basics’ targeted at practising midwives. The aim of these articles is to provide information to raise awareness of the impact of the work of midwives on women’s experience and encourage midwives to seek further information through a […]

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Articles - Basics

Prolonged jaundice in neonates

MIDWIFERY BASICS Practice Skills Prolonged jaundice in neonates Jaundice is common in neonates and is often the reason for a parent to consult a community midwife or health visitor. It is known that up to 40 per cent of breastfed infants are jaundiced at 14 days of age and a proportion of these infants are […]

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Articles - Basics

Contraception: a guide for midwives

MIDWIFERY BASICS Postnatal Care Contraception: a guide for midwives Women will generally spend more of their reproductive lifetime preventing pregnancy than experiencing it. The choice of contraceptive methods can be confusing for women, each one having its own set of advantages and disadvantages. For new mothers, a method of contraception is important if a reasonable […]

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Articles - Basics

We’ve got it covered: graduated compression stockings

MIDWIFERY BASICS Practice Skills We’ve got it covered: graduated compression stockings Hypercoagulability is a well documented feature of pregnancy and contributes to the increased incidences of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in pregnancy. Thromboembolism remains a leading cause of maternal death in the UK, though it’s predicted that up to two thirds of these deaths could be […]

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Articles - Basics

Catherisation: best practice in bladder care

MIDWIFERY BASICS Preceptorship Catherisation: best practice in bladder care Bladder care is an integral part of caring for a woman in labour and the immediate postpartum period (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 2014a). To ensure effective bladder care, the skill of urinary catheterisation is often undertaken by a midwife and can be […]

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Articles - Basics

Antenatal care: 7. Testing for diabetes in pregnancy

MIDWIFERY BASICS Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing 7. Testing for diabetes in pregnancy ‘Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing’ is the 10th series of ‘Midwifery basics’ targeted at both students and practicing midwives who wish to update. The series aims to raise awareness of the needs of women during their childbearing experience. The reader […]

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Articles - Basics

Antenatal care: Alcohol and pregnancy: a dangerous cocktail

MIDWIFERY BASICS Antenatal care Alcohol and pregnancy: a dangerous cocktail Women have diverse attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Contradictory views about the risks associated with alcohol intake influence consumption levels. Many women do not receive detailed advice from healthcare professionals. The woman’s assessment of risk is hindered by the contradictory advice from […]

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Articles - Basics

Antenatal care: 6. Blood tests for investigating pre-eclampsia

MIDWIFERY BASICS Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing 6. Blood tests for investigating pre-eclampsia Pre-eclampsia complicates between 2 per cent and 8 per cent of pregnancies, and safe care for mother and baby depends on early recognition of signs and symptoms, as well as timely investigation and referral. An understanding of the pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia […]

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Articles - Basics

Antenatal care: 5. Testing for sexually transmitted infections in pregnancy

MIDWIFERY BASICS Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing 5. Testing for sexually transmitted infections in pregnancy ‘Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing’ is the 10th series of ‘Midwifery basics’ and is targeted at both students and practising midwives who wish to update their knowledge. The series aims to raise awareness of the needs of women […]

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Articles - Basics

Antenatal care: How midwives can help with perinatal depression

MIDWIFERY BASICS How midwives can help with perinatal depression In 2011 a national children’s charity led a campaign that identified why help with postnatal depression (PND) needed to improve; however PND remains a huge problem. Numerous cases are still coming to light where a mother has not sought help nor has been given adequate support, […]

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Articles - Basics

Infant feeding: 3. Skills to support infant feeding

MIDWIFERY BASICS Infant feeding 3. Skills to support infant feeding ‘Infant feeding’ is the 12th series of ‘Midwifery basics’ targeted at practising midwives. The aim of these articles is to inform and encourage readers to seek further information through a series of activities relating to the topic. In this third article Joyce Marshall considers the […]

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Articles - Basics

Infant feeding: Supporting young mothers who want to breastfeed

MIDWIFERY BASICS Infant feeding Supporting young mothers who want to breastfeed This article is a discussion of some of the current knowledge on how to best support young mothers who wish to breastfeed. It includes practice points taken from Phoebe’s own qualitative research on young mothers and infant feeding and also a discussion of the […]

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Articles - Evidence

Infant feeding: 1. Anatomy and physiology

MIDWIFERY BASICS Infant feeding 1. Anatomy and physiology ‘Infant feeding’ is the 12th series of ‘Midwifery basics’ targeted at practising midwives. The aim of these articles is to inform and encourage readers to seek further information through a series of activities relating to the topic. In this first article of the new series, Joyce Marshall […]

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Articles - Basics

Preceptorship: 7. Perineal suturing

MIDWIFERY BASICS Preceptorship 7. Perineal suturing During the transition from student midwife, the newly qualified practitioner (NQM) is required to obtain experience of perineal suturing. With exposure varying from student to student and inconsistency in teaching methods between hospital trusts, the NQM can be left feeling apprehensive and unsupported to learn this skill. Suturing is […]

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Articles - Basics

Midwifery Basics: Preceptorship – 6. Learning The Skill Of Intravenous Cannulation

MIDWIFERY BASICS: PRECEPTORSHIP 6. Learning the skill of intravenous cannulation Preceptorship is the 15th series of ‘Midwifery basics’ targeted at practising midwives. The aim of these articles is to provide information to raise awareness of the impact of the work of midwives on women’s experience, and encourage midwives to seek further information through a series […]

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Articles - Basics

Atrial fibrillation case study

MIDWIFERY BASICS Physiology Atrial fibrillation case study This article discusses the irregular heart rhythm caused by atrial fibrillation (AF). A brief overview of the pathophysiology will be provided. A case study is discussed to highlight the treatment and management of AF. The care provision describes common signs and symptoms and also the treatment and management […]

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Articles - Basics

Preceptorship: 4. Managing workload and prioritising care: top tips

MIDWIFERY BASICS Preceptorship 4. Managing workload and prioritising care: top tips In this fourth article of the series, Neesha Ridley and Kerry Taylor look into the barriers and challenges that present to all midwives, particularly in the prioritisation of care and management of workload. Top tips in order to help support newly qualified midwives manage […]

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Articles - Basics

Preceptorship: 3. Being a preceptor – rewarding but challenging

MIDWIFERY BASICS Preceptorship 3. Being a preceptor – rewarding but challenging Preceptorship is the 15th series of ‘Midwifery basics’ targeted at practising midwives. The aim of these articles is to provide information to raise awareness of the impact of the work of midwives on women’s experience, and encourage midwives to seek further information through a […]

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Articles - Basics

Preceptorship: 2. Newly qualified midwives

MIDWIFERY BASICS Preceptorship 2. Newly qualified midwives National and professional organisations advocate that employers should provide newly qualified midwives with a structured model of preceptorship. This is to increase confidence and competence, consequently strengthening recruitment and retention. In this second article of the series, Kerry Taylor, Stephanie Heys and Jessemy Evans look first hand at […]

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