Lucy Gladwell, newly qualified midwifetalks to NHS Professionals about her new role, gives her top tips to young people starting out in midwifery.
Tell us a bit a bit about yourself and what you currently do.
I went to University straight after completing my A levels in Biology, English, Psychology and Dance. I knew that I wanted to become a midwife. I qualified in September 2016 at 21 years old, after finishing my degree at Birmingham City University. I am now over a month into working as a registered midwife at Hillingdon Hospital in North West London. It is hard work starting as a newly qualified midwife in a new trust, but I am enjoying the challenge and keep learning new things every day – something I love about midwifery. It is still taking some time getting used to signing my name as ‘registered midwife’ rather than ‘student midwife’– I keep having to remind myself of the reality!
Why did you want to become a midwife?
It’s the whole package really. Midwifery is a challenging career.
Human biology really interested me at school and I found pregnancy and birth fascinating, I love all the science behind birth. I volunteered at a local hospital during sixth form, I really enjoyed working there and the fact I could make someone feel much more at ease just by taking the time to talk with them or make them a hot drink, even though I was unable to get involved with clinical tasks. I knew that this was the right environment for me. I also love meeting new people, their different personalities, backgrounds and cultural differences.
I also wanted to become a midwife because you become an autonomous practitioner with more decisions and responsibility. You can give care that can really make a difference to a woman’s pregnancy and birthing experience. I wanted to be part of a career I could be proud of and make a difference.
What do you like most about midwife?
I love that every day is so different. The fact you can give one to one care and really make a difference to a woman’s pregnancy, birth and their transition to parenthood. You are influential in a huge milestone in that person’s life and it is up to you to be the woman’s advocate and ensure she has all the information to make informed choices. It is such privilege to be a part of her experience.
Why did you choose to apply for the Edith Cavell Leadership Award?
I had my heart set on an elective placement and I was looking at ways I could afford to do so. My colleague told me about the Cavell Nurse’s Trust. They are such an amazing charity and even offer opportunities for students to do overseas placements.
There were a few examples of leadership I was able to demonstrate throughout my training, so I thought I would challenge myself and apply!
If you could give young people who are just starting out in midwifery some advice, what would it be?
I would say midwifery is challenging. There are going to be ups and downs. I think most people have at least one time during their training or career where think “why on earth did I choose this it would be so much easier to work a normal job”.
You have got to keep remembering the passion that you went into midwifery with. There is nothing more exciting than watching a baby be born. It is a really amazing career so you just have to remember how lucky you are to be a part of such an amazing profession.
How did you feel when you found out you had won the award?
I was in shock – I never thought I would win it, there are so many amazing students out there.
What do you think makes a good leader?
I think leadership is a behaviour. For me, a leader is somebody who will motivate people and help them to reach their potential rather than somebody who feels like they are above others. Leaders empower people to create a good positive environment without necessarily telling them what to do.
Any particular leaders during your training?
Your mentors are incredibly important people during your training and they lead you to the ways that you aspire to practice midwifery in – you take the best of what you see and become your own practitioner going forward.
How important is it to have good guidance as a student midwife?
Midwives have a lot of responsibility. It’s important to have somebody who will give you enough responsibility so that when you qualify, the transition is easier. When you’re suddenly on your own in a room it can be quite daunting.
It’s also really important that senior colleagues are aware of junior midwives and offer their support so that we’ve always got somebody to ask for help. It’s so important to be able to feel like you’re not alone. There are always going to be things that you’ve not come across before so it’s important for everybody to share their knowledge and use each other’s skills to develop their own.
You used your scholarship to go to Sri Lanka what did you learn from your experience?
I went to Kandy General Teaching Hospital, which is the second largest teaching hospital in Sri Lanka. On my first day on the ward it seemed like there were so many staff but actually a lot of them were junior doctors and student nurses.
I couldn’t believe how many people were in a room watching each delivery. In the labour room there were seven delivery beds all within arms-length of each other – I was shocked by the lack of privacy. Birth is more medicalised there, women don’t seem to have the same choices and the birthing environment seemed quite harsh to me. It really opens your mind to how the world isn’t equal and highlights how women in England have a completely different experience to women in Sri Lanka.
How has the experience impacted on your life?
It really emphasizes how important the 6Cs are. They are very small things you can do every day that can make a woman’s experience or any patients’ experience much more comfortable and positive. Regardless of resources or state-of-the-art equipment, these fundamental skills should be embedded into every health care professional’s practice.
We’re so lucky in the NHS to have a multi-disciplinary team where we value everybody’s role including our maternity support workers and healthcare assistants, because they help us so much. I thought the system in Sri Lanka was more hierarchal than in England. My experience has highlighted the importance of valuing and respecting every member of the team to make a positive working environment and ensure the best outcomes for patients.
Would you encourage other student nurses to apply for this award?
Of course. There’s nothing to lose really. It’s an amazing charity – even if you don’t win the award it’s definitely worth getting involved in. It’s great that there is an organisation out there that helps nurses, midwives, and health care assistants in times of hardship.
I’d also encourage anyone to do an overseas placement. Most people will not get an opportunity to go at another time in their career. As a student trying to fund the placement can be really hard, opportunities like this that will fund the award is brilliant.
Even without the funding, it was an honour to receive the award.
This is my third and final blog in the series for NHS Professionals and at the end of blog two I hadn’t decided what it’s focus would be. Due to a number of reasons I have decided to make this post about thanks; saying thank you every day is something I advocate wholeheartedly and I believe those two words can make a real difference to people’s days.
Florence Nightingale Foundation (@FNightinagleF) and NHS Professionals (NHSPBank)
Thank you so much once again for providing me with the Scholarship which allowed me to complete my MSc Nursing Studies with Oxford Brookes University (@OBU_Nursing). I completed this course entirely through scholarships so if you aren’t in a position to self-fund, it is still possible to do; if I can do it, so can you.
Locally at the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust @JamesPagetNHS
Research Facilitators – huge effort and a great amendment week
Jamie Preece (@JamieP1982), Sarah Daniels (@SarahDaniels6), Nadine Baldwin & Karen Reavell (@researchkarenr) Head of Research closed the office for the w/c 4th July 2016 in order to concentrate on reviewing amendments for research studies which are currently recruiting patients @JamesPagetNHS. They worked extremely hard and deserve a huge thank you not only for their efforts throughout this week but also for the tireless work they undertake on a day to day basis.
Clinical delivery team:
Dr Carlo Canepa (PI) and Christian Hacon (Clinical Research Nurse) have developed our stroke research service alongwith other stroke colleagues and have a great rapport with their patients. Despite one of their studies being particularly difficult to recruit to (http://www.phri.ca/research-study/navigate-esus/), Christian and Carlo have worked out different strategies to identify patients to ensure they do not miss out on the opportunity to participate. As a result more patients are aware of and taking up the opportunity.
I mentioned paediatrics in my last blog as my personal involvement in this increased over the past couple of months. The wonderful Ally (Clinical Research Nurse) is now back and working really hard to ensure opportunities are available to children and their parents. Last week three newly diagnosed children (& their parents) took up the chance to participate in a study called Address2 http://www.address2.org/ Well done to Ally and the Paediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist team @JamesPagetNHS for making research visible.
Elva (Clinical Research Nurse) set-up an induction alongside our research booklet for one of our new clinical research nurses, Teresa who has been in post about 4 weeks now. Elva has provided Teresa with training, support and challenges since she started and Teresa is now in a position to start leading on studies herself. She will be focusing on Obs & Gynae, ENT and supporting some other areas. A big thank you to Elva and a warm welcome to Teresa. Elva is also the team link for pre-registration student nurses
Learning disabilities #LDWeek16 – Rebecca Crossley
We supported the wonderful Learning Disabilities team @JamesPagetNHS throughout learning disabilities week. Celia, Abby and I even learnt some sign language
You can see a snippet of their learning in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKj70kisOKE
The whole research team
I’d love to name people individually but there are so many of us now and I’m mindful of my word-count. A huge thank you to everyone within the team and across the Trust for being the best team with great values and commitment, you are all brilliant @JPUHResearch & @JamesPagetNHS.
NIHR Leadership Programme
2016 is the inaugural NIHR Leadership Programme for Clinical Research Delivery staff and I have had the pleasure of working with Esther Thomas (Workforce Development Lead, CRN:Eastern) and Fiona Maxton (Research Delivery Manager) in shortlisting applications. We are interviewing in the next couple of weeks and it’s exciting to see how this develops over the coming six months.
UK Social Media Research Strategy
I was invited by the @Wenurses and Canterbury University teams to meet and discuss the potential of a social media for research UK strategy last week. What a day! One of the most exciting and inspiring days I’ve ever been part of. Great people, great ideas, great enthusiasm & huge potential. A very big thank you goes to twitter for connecting me with some amazing people. To be kept posted on developments and opportunities regarding this, please follow me on twitter @ClaireW_UK
As this is all about thanks, I’ve decided to leave the last word from blog no 3 to one of our incredible patient’s, John – here’s his story (supported by his wife, Pauline)…
The CAROLINA study is a phase III, international, multi-centre double-blind study within the area of diabetes and is trialling a new medication. The aim of the study is to investigate the longterm impact on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, relevant efficacy parameters (e.g., glycaemic parameters) and safety (e.g., weight and hypoglycaemia) of treatment with linagliptin in patients with type 2 diabetes at elevated cardiovascular risk receiving usual care, and compare outcome against glimepiride.
How did you become involved in the study?
I had a heart attack and was treated at Papworth Hospital & developed diabetes after that, some years ago now. I was so pleased with the treatment I received at the James Paget generally, and was offered the trial. I went from death’s door to how I am now. I had a letter from my doctor about the study and a phone call from one of them to see if I was interested. Had an appointment booked with my doctor to discuss it and he said it was him who put me forward. I normally see the practice nurse twice a year, once for my heart and the second for my diabetes, my MOT. In the trial I see Helen and Jane so more regular check-ups.
What has your experience been like?
Pretty good! The nurses and doctors are all so friendly and nice. It’s so worth doing. We’re retired too so that helps because we don’t have to fit it around work or anything. I’ve been on it three years now and always enjoy coming in.
How did you feel about being approached to participate in research and the consequent visits you’ve made?
I was really happy to take part. How do people learn and get medicines better for people without this? Its nice getting looked after and being seen to be kept an eye on. Helen (Research Nurse) is so, so lovely and easy to get on with – we talk about our holidays and she’s just been climbing. Jane (Research Nurse) is really lovely too – she covers Helen when she’s off. Dr Myint (Diabetes Consultant) is just amazing too.
What would you say to the other people who are thinking about participating in research?
Pauline and John together “Go for it”
You’ve got nothing to lose. One of the biggest things is that they stress you are a volunteer and can withdraw anytime, that’s the thing.
Is there anything else at all you would like to add?
I think I’m doing a bit of good for medical research
If someone hadn’t done what I’m doing now, I probably wouldn’t be here.
Its Diabetes awareness week 13th June to 20th June 2016, so take this opportunity to refresh your knowledge by completing some of the e-learning modules available to you.
Virtual College National Patient Safety Suite has number of on-line modules available to qualified nurses and can be accessed via this link.
Developed by Diabetes UK and BUPA, ‘Diabetes in healthcare’ is an introductory e-learning programme that covers type 1 and type 2 diabetes and can be accessed via www.diabetesinhealthcare.co.uk
Open Learn, part of the Open University provides a number of free learning courses that raise awareness of diabetes, diagnosis and associated complications and can be accessed via http://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/science/biology/living-diabetes/content-section—learningoutcomes#
More learning opportunities:
Prostate Cancer UK provides a suite of free e-learning modules that can help you to understand about risk factors, treatment plans and diagnosis of prostate cancer, along with the care and treatment provided. These modules can be found at http://prostatecanceruk.org/for-health-professionals/education
The Social Care Institute for Excellence has developed a new e-learning module that focuses on the Mental Capacity Act. Published in March 2016 this is a brand new resource and is free to use. It can be accessed from www.scie.org.uk
Nurses – remember any new learning (or old learning seen with different eyes) can help you to meet your revalidation requirements.
So go on, make sure every bit of your learning counts and give some of the learning modules a go and complete your CPD and reflective accounts form both of which can be accessed from revalidation.nmc.org.uk/download-resources/forms-and -templates/
Please note: NHS Professionals accepts no responsibility of the content of other websites linked in this article.
Hello everyone, I’m Claire Whitehouse (nee Gibbs) (@ClaireW_UK) and I’m delighted to have been asked to write a series of blogs for NHS Professionals. For this, my first blog of three, I would like to set the scene with some background…
I am Lead Nurse for Research at the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (JPUH) (@JamesPagetNHS / @JPUHResearch) and have been in post for four years, supporting staff & patients, and with a focus on developing and expanding our team. The aim has been taking on more studies in order to offer patients more opportunities to participate or be involved in research. I lead the clinical delivery side of the research and development team which includes nurses, midwives, AHPs, non-clinical support assistants and administrators, as well as supporting other multi-disciplinary professionals across the Trust.
I am an NIHR GCP facilitator and regularly teach across Clinical Research Network: Eastern including being a core steering group member on the flagship Advanced Research in Practice course. I instigated the design of a Research Programme within JPUH, which we believe is the only of its kind in the UK.
Please see the JPUH Research Programme Poster here.
At JPUH, we are running 112 studies across numerous disease areas; these are a mixture of interventional, observational, commercial, academic and student studies. We are currently looking to offer research in areas which have previously been research inactive, with a view that all patients will be offered the opportunity to participate in research should they meet the study criteria.
I am also an Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University (@OBU_nursing) where I teach distance learning multi-disciplinary courses, & focus on evidence based practice and advanced research design modules.
Link with NHS Professionals
I was awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation (@FNightingaleF) Research Scholarship in 2014 which was kindly funded through NHS Professionals. The FNF support a number of scholarships which are open via annual application to nurses, midwives and AHPs. Full details can be viewed here http://www.florence-nightingale-foundation.org.uk/content/page/1/
The research scholarship funded my MSc Nursing studies dissertation. I was absolutely delighted as this meant I was able to complete my course. My entire MSc was funded through a number of scholarships & this is something I am very proud of; scholarships are out there if you are willing to a) look for them and b) put yourself outside of your comfort zone. I would not have been able to self-fund the course, therefore without the support from FNF and NHS Professionals I would not be sitting here today with those three small letters after my name. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank NHS Professionals, the support you have given me is invaluable. Following this, I was promoted from Senior Clinical Research Nurse to Lead Nurse for Research at JPUH.
You can see my Research Scholarship poster here: Research Scholarships poster 2014
“Student nurses experience of research whilst on clinical placement” was the title of my primary research, multi-centre, qualitative research dissertation study and involved interviewing pre-registration nursing students about their experiences of research whilst on their placements. The results were assessed using thematic analysis and five main themes emerged; visibility, mentor influence, University, Placement culture and student mind-set. To view a poster of the results please see below. Suggestions provided by the students involved were taken back to the NHS Trusts and the University – the majority of these have been implemented already which is fantastic.
Please see my dissertation poster here: SNERP poster 2016
I created #whywedoresearch in 2014 as a Christmas campaign to raise awareness of research within our local area using social media, specifically twitter, as the platform for engagement. Within four days it had reached a National level and (having decided to continue the campaign) within four weeks it was global having reached Australia and Canada. The premise is simple; you write the reason you do research onto a piece of paper then take a photo holding your placard. You then upload to twitter using #whywedoresearch in the tweet text. The photograph below was one taken at this year’s Cancer Research UK Pretty Muddy event (I’m on the left).
Since its inception, #whywedoresearch is now in 22 countries world-wide, has >80 MILLION impressions, 34 local ambassadors and >6,000 separate accounts involved. It was also a top eight finalist in the Nursing Times Awards Clinical Research Nursing category 2015 (from 74 entries). The campaign is run entirely voluntarily & now has seven collaborators globally who help to steer the campaign direction. To find out more about the campaign please visit our website www.whywedoresearch.weebly.com and watch our official campaign video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpxo7crRzrA
As part of International Clinical Trials Day 2016 (20th May) we hosted the world’s first ever “tweetfest” – a week long schedule of tweetchats hosted across the world continuing the campaign’s vision of raising research awareness and opportunities to patients, public and staff.
My second blog for this series will provide a review of the #whywedoresearch tweetfest and follow some of my patient visits. In the meantime, have a wonderful month.