Happy Birthday Sheena 

I feel like I have known Sheena all my life . However we have known each other less than two years

Our first exchange with one another was I twitter when she retweeted one of my very early tweets about midwifery . I ran around my house “Sheena Byrom has retweeted my tweet  !”

I have learnt so much from Sheena about tolerance and roaring – agreeing and challenging and about  the nature of kindness plus why as women we must raise each other up not pull each other down . 

At work last week a senior male obstetric consultant said to me

“Midwives are advocates for all women of the world”

his words immediately made me think of Sheena and the work she does .

 I think more than anything Sheena has helped me because she believed in me – nominating me to present at an NHS midwifery conference in Durham . Click HERE for the storify on it by @GreatNorthMum . I had previously only presented at the National Supervisor of Midwives Conference in 2006  . This amazing opportunity helped me to see that presenting at conferences is about networking and sharing good practice as well as learning from others . It’s about connecting and going forwards together – the social media side of conferences allows those unable  to attend to be there via a hashtag and to catch up through stories on Steller,  Storify and blogs. 

 Sheena has a global impact on so  many  women  around the world who are connected through her love of midwifery . She is also a staunch family person and adores socialising never too busy to say hello or send a message . 

I know I’m not alone in wishing Sheena a Happy Birthday and here’s a film by @GarethPresch CLICK HERE to watch with a poem I wrote to sum up The Sheena Effect 

Sheena there are so many families, women, midwives, future midwives in the  world who have so much to thank you for . 

Enjoy your birthday – and may you stay ❤️Forever Young ❤️

Lots of Love Jenny xxxx 

Dashing here to where ? 

A few months ago I was on a break  with a #FutureMidwife – we were eating a meal at work . The staff room door flew open and a midwife in charge said “I need an observations machine in room 2 right now” the future midwife was up & out of the room before I had chance to think – err she is a lot younger than me : ) 

When she returned I said “did you go into automatic pilot ?” She agreed that she had so here’s what we discussed . 

1.When someone asks you for help ask why -is it an emergency?

2. Allow the process time to reach your brain 

3. If sitting stand up slowly to prepare yourself – if standing think before you start to walk 

4. Respect yourself and your mindfulness as much as the other person – you are equals 

5. Consider your age / fitness / mental well being and why you feel the need to dash 

6. Slow down – put yourself first – if you are young you have a long time to be working – probably into your 60s – each stressful situation shortens your life slightly 

7. If it’s an emergency it’s ok to go into autopilot but realise that you are a valuable so your focus and calm will lead others to be the same . 

Last week I almost bumped into a newly qualified midwife who was ruining out of a room . I said stop ! Are you ok what’s wrong ? “I have to tell shift leader how many cm’s dilated the woman I am with is ” I said “but that’s no emergency – you are 22 you have probably another 44 years to work . So if you continually dash you will eventually burn out . Leaving a room calmly will impact on yourself and the woman you are with – be mindful of yourself”  

The midwife agreed with me and I said don’t promise me – promise yourself to think first then walk – dash only in an emergency situation and running ? Should we be running ? Consider your own safety first . 

Here’s some points  for you all to consider 

Do you dash here & there not stopping to think ? 

Consider your mind and body – slow down a little – be calm – take your time . There are plenty of opportunities to speed up in emergency situations . Don’t put yourself under unnecessary stress if you don’t need to – there is an implication on your health . 

Try this for one day then one week and see how you feel – share your feelings with others , spread the word. 

Here’s my poem 

Dashing About 

When we dash out of a room -we leave no time to think

So thoughts are given less worth than deeds and this might make us sink 

Walk slowly as you think to yourself  and slow your pace right down

Be mindful of your own well being and you’ll never wear a frown x ❤️

Thankyou for reading 

Jenny ❤️ 

Speak Out 

Please do not see me as anyone special – my philosophy is to learn and to inspire  others to keep going – against the odds. To help others and to reinforce within myself the understanding that feeling shame is ok , that to be embarrassed is fine and to feel vulnerable is to be human . I am reading Brene Browns book Rising Strong and now realise that it’s ok not to be strong all the time. I try to stay humble and kind. 
Just recently I’ve been reading a lot about hierarchy and what it means . Some say social media does not flatten hierarchy perhaps it doesn’t but it does connect you to people you may never find the time to meet or talk to in person . 

THIS WAS WRITTEN IN 2007 I have heard of stories about bullying in the NHS and I have been on the receiving end – the word bullying to me dehumanises the people who are actually carrying out the behaviour and cruelty they are ‘bullies ‘

In May 2015 Marie Claire Magazine published an article about nursing and the bullying culture CLICK HERE to read – it has many parallels to midwifery . Sadly this issue is talked about and highlighted as wrong but still it continues . 

Jacques Gerrard is   @JacqueGRCM on twitter – Jacques gives a powerful presentation on how bullying and undermining behaviour can affect someone’s work and be detrimental to a midwives’ health. Also Jacques promotes the  RCOG & RCM JOINT TOOLKIT on challenging and identifying bullying behaviour . 

Bullying can include questioning practice , being gossiped about , being marginalised, ostracised Forcing to retrain when not necessary and being  

 given an excessive or inappropriate workload . It can also include things like not being valued for the work you do , and not being supported . It takes immense strength to challenge bullies and to let them see that you are not affected by them when in fact you might be – this is displaying a strong exterior . a person  on the receiving end of bullying may develop mental illness and physical symptoms . The following are some of the effects of being bullied 

…. anxiety, headaches, nausea, ulcers, sleeplessness, skin rashes, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, tearfulness, loss of self-confidence, various illnesses of the organs such as the kidneys, thoughts of suicide…. 

People who are being bulliied  should be aware that their employer has a duty to protect them and make them safe . The Trade Inion Congress has solid advice on challenging and recognising bullying TRADE UNION CONGRESS – ADVICE TO HELP YOU IF YOU ARE BEING BULLIED –

As today is #SpeakOut day against bullying I’ve been reading on this  ANTI-BULLYING WEBSITE how to train to become an anti-bullying ambassador and this training  involves school children and adults in schools, the workplace and the community . 

It’s time to challenge any form of bullying and to consider how we treat others . Do you value your colleagues or do you snipe about them ? Do you include them or leave them to flounder on unsupported and lonely .

Bullies make up about 20% of the workforce so we can out number them and challenge . Only two weeks ago I saw a fellow colleague blatantly being targeted and I did something about it . Don’t get me wrong it was hard to speak out but once I did I had feedback from others that they had gained courage to speak out . 

It’s time to address the bullies and help them to see that their actions and behaviours can have a  long term detrimental effect on A person , the whole of society and health . If you are beng bullied don’t be a victim speak out , seek advice tell your friends , keep a diary and get some support from your union representative . If you are not in a union join one . 

Let’s all be courageous and make the world a better place to be in 

Thank you for reading 

Jenny ❤️

If you are a midwife – I am just like you ❤️  

I am two people sometimes my identities merge into one sometimes they separate. First and foremost I am a mother who is a writer and expresses her work through writing, art  and social media. Then I am a midwife I work full time clinically and I do shift work. This realisation hit me after seeing the film ‘The Lady In The Van’ where Alan Bennett is portrayed by two actors  showing his two roles – one as the writer Alan Bennet and the other Alan Bennett the man with the house and life to live 

In addition to my NHS role  I also present regularly usually to NHS trusts Midwifery Societies and to other NHS Departments usually around skin to skin contact at birth – I also include discussion around  courage and challenges within the workplace .  Sometimes my  two ‘lives’ meet sometimes they go their separate ways however I am the conduit of my own story . I say this because I blog about some of the experiences I have had within my own work and also talk about them in my presentations . By using these experiences my aim is help others to gain confidence or consider their own approach to colleagues and to women. 

I reflect on each occurrence and then I depersonalise it to write in the third person – the aim of my stories is to give the reader hope for themselves and for others . I want midwives to realise that I am just like them – I get up I go to work I come home and then I work some more .  I work shifts and weekends . There are occasions when I have beans on toast or cereal for dinner and I have even been known to spend a full day in my pyjamas if I need a good rest . There are times on a shift when I may not get a break and / or go home late. 

I have had feedback that some of my blogs hit a nerve – my main passion is to promote skin to skin contact for all birth settings where possible , however if my platform enables me to speak out for others who are unable to speak out for themselves , then I will do it .  I would like to pose a question to you all – 

Are you aware of why some midwives do not rejoice in the work that other midwives do? 

Why is this ? As far as I am concerned it is stopping us from moving forwards as a profession. The midwives that do extra mural work are not trying to glorify themselves but they are simply filled with passion. Their drive is not something they find easy and they get tired and disheartened but they keep going – that does not mean they are any better, wiser or more respected than those doing their role and nothing extra – it just means they want to help the profession to be recognised and all of us to be equally valued. We are all relevant voices so try to respect one another and be professional , compassionate and kind to one another – this will then drip onto the women and families we care for . Consider how you react to a midwife who might be in the public eye and realise that you are equal partners in midwifery . 

Reflect back to your last month at work – have you been in any situation that you felt uncomfortable in ? Did you witness a colleague being upset? Did you see or hear something that concerned you ? How did you feel ? What did you do ? Did you regret not saying anything either because the time was not right or just because you felt scared? How do you think the other person felt ? Who did you talk to about it ? Your supervisor of midwives ? Your colleague ? Your manager ? Your family ? The NMC? Your union representative or steward? Your friends or no one ? It’s really important that when something emotional happens in your life that you can debrief about it . Personal or joint reflection helps us all to  gain feedback from ourselves  and from others and it’s SO important that this feedback includes positivity as well as critical analysis . Why ? There is a plethora of research available  ON FEEDBACK  including the article you’ve just read . Search google scholar for research and articles on how nurses and / or doctors reflect

Keeping a diary each day will help you to reflect back with better clarity – time moves fast and soon the next week is upon us – the incident or situation will pass you by . Unbeknown to you stressful situations,  scenarios , whether they are large or small will slowly and gradually affect your physical and mental health . Things like weight gain , anxiety and depression are directly  to linked to stress in the workplace and can impact negatively  on safety , staffing levels , good care and achievements  for midwifery . 

I suggest you buddy up with someone you trust , someone you can reflect with , plan with and rejoice with. Try to remember why you chose midwifery and the massive impact that your care will  have on a woman and her family . 

We all have the same dreams 

Thank you for reading please leave comments as this helps me to learn and reflect 

Jenny ❤️

Teaching and learning 

Let’s imagine you are being taught how to do something . How you learn this task / skill / procedure is totally dependent upon a combination of factors . 

1 The environment – it may be calm or chaotic – the temperature , lighting and atmosphere and the place itself will all impact on the outcome 

2. The people present and their attitudes , personalities and beliefs . Also their own knowledge can impact on your ability to teach / learn or take in new information . 

3. Your prior knowledge or experience . How you feel about teaching and / or your teacher . If you are the learner your current state of mind / fears / previous experiences and self awareness. 

4. What is being taught ? If it’s an intricate task this will require intense patience by the person doing the teaching towards the learner . The teachers ability to step back in time and recall their own self as the learner in the same situation . For example if you drive a car  try to imagine yourself learning to drive all over again . Re-live the feelings you had when you first took control of a car . Are you kind to new learner drivers on the road? 

5. Time – how much time is available ? Is it going to be a rushed process – or is there plenty of time ? 

6. Preparation – what is ready to teach the task or skill . Do others have roles within the task and are you ready to teach / learn – have you read around the subject 

7. Compassion – a compassionate teacher will allow a learner to gain more from them – than one who is harsh – a compassionate teacher will hold back negative emotions as much as possible and give praise and encouragement so that the learner relaxes. Positive affirmation will not only allow the learner  to grow but also the teacher . 

8. Consideration – thinking of how the learner may feel shows kindness and allows learning to take place . The learner must not assume a subservient role as he/she must value the importance of being a learner . 

9.Feedback – it’s no use doing all the above & not reflecting together about how both parties felt about the situation . Honesty with one another allows the learner and the teacher to grow and develop positively . 

10. Variety – a one off teaching session is not always the best thing , but it might be the the only opportunity . Its just as important to have a variety of teachers and reflect on how you learn from each of them as much as it is to have a variety of learners to see how you develop and adapt different styles of teaching . 

11. Equality -There should be no hierarchy in teaching and learning – both parities must feel equal and be respectful  towards each other’s needs and planned outcomes . 

Embrace teaching and learning – both are intertwined . They help us to develop and to make the world a better place . Never stop learning – value and share knowledge but also listen carefully to all voices – be kind to one another 

Thankyou for reading I

❤️Jenny ❤️ 

Listening and initiative 

Sometimes you may be told or asked to do something within your role at work . You have choices 

1.obey do as you are told 

2. Question why and discuss the options with the other person – you must  give sound évidence and / or explore feelings as to why you feel this way 

3. Decide against it – investigate the situation on your own and show initiative – keep safety and kindness as your prime outcomes  and aim 

Éveryone in every organisation should have a valid and listened to voice – sometimes others see things or situations that others might not be aware of . 

If you are the person being challenged take time to listen , appreciate that the other persons story is just as valid as yours . A senior role does not signify a reason to avoid being challenged . 

When the matter is resolved or not as the case may be – think carefully 

1. Is/Was either person showing initiative ? 

2. Did the challenge improve patient experience ? 

3. Did both parties feel equal in thoughts , voices and deeds ?

4. Was feedback positive or negative ? 

I have seen situations in my career where junior staff have challenged senior staff and been right but the matter has been brushed aside . In fact the junior team member was displaying leadership but due to the hierarchical view of the senior person no praise or feedback was given . 

This is a lost opportunity – to value a colleague to help them on their journey. Also to improve patient care .

When situations happen always look at the bigger picture . WHO is gaining ? WHO is losing out ? 

Are you developing leaders within your organisation or are you squashing them ? 

Listen to all voices matter how junior or senior – question in your own mind “would I ask that of myself ” evaluate feedback give praise and be thankful for initiative . 

Be a listening and compassionate leader 

Thank you for reading 

Jenny