With woman midwifery 

❤️Before I start I’d like to thank Soo Downe for using this photo of me with my pinards in her slides during this years EMA ❤️ &  thanks to Jacque Gerrard RCM for letting me know. 

Hello , are you a midwife ? Have you ever heard or said any of the following sentences ? 

“I’m coming in the office for a few minutes , they don’t want me in there all the time” 

“I’ll leave you in peace for a while – you don’t need me here all the time” 

“I’m giving them some time to themselves whilst she’s in the early stages” 

There is evidence and research to prove unanimously that women who have continuous one to one care have less pain relief , more incidence of normal birth , less perineal trauma and feel more positive about their birth process . As midwives there’s always information to share and explain that the woman may not know about . I also view my role as a guardian to the partner making sure he or she feels involved and free to ask questions . So the next time you hear yourself or a colleague say “I’m leaving the couple I’m caring for as they don’t need me in their birth room all the time” just remember leaving them  isn’t evidence based practice – staying with them totally is 

Resources on continuity 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1002/14651858.CD004667.pub5/asset/CD004667.pdf?v=1&t=iwl6t8eo&s=72d734e7de6a3665a8d183e2d5df1492e37dc2ec

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673616314726

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0266613816300572 

#LeadToAdd 

LeadToAdd click HERE to learn more is the latest NHS England campaign # is #LeadToAdd. As a Caremaker I will be linking this on Twitter with my work on #skinToskin , #futuremidwives and #couragebutter to inspire others to see themselves as leaders regardless of their role . Patients, women, families and non-clinical staff are also leaders .  
I feel this will inspire/activate different meanings to different people

Here are some of my thoughts around it

What does to lead mean ? 
To take charge , to be at the front , to inspire , to educate, to be diverse 
Leading is about being at the front and CONSTANTLY looking back to bring others with you

Leading is about being the first to begin something but not necessarily holding onto that but looking at how your actions impact on the way others fulfil their role. Leading is being a positive role model, leading is about looking inwards at your own behaviour and also looking outwards at the behaviour of others . 

In the NHS all staff need encouragement to recognise themselves as leaders and also to see that some behaviours do not embody leadership. We are all learning each day, so don’t stay still – question yourself and the way you speak to others . Ask a colleague to listen to you talking to patients and staff and to give you feedback -what could you change ? Integrate telephone conversations into drills training-  talk to your practice development team – think outside the box . 

Someone who leads others into poor practice is a poor leader but a leader non the less so be aware of your own commitment to pass the positive leadership baton . We are human and it’s ok to make mistakes , however we must learn, evolve and change .

The other day I had a car journey with Joan Pons Laplana (@ThebestJoan on twitter) and once again he made me think hard about how the 6Cs are integrated into practice . Joan said to me that as a health care professional all tasks and procedures must embody the 6Cs – even answering a telephone call. 
As a form of reflection I’d like you to read passage one and then passage two
Passage One 
Busy labour ward – phone ringing , midwife answered the phone – we will call the person making the call Tony and his partner who is having a baby is called Dolores. The midwives name will be Darcy . 
Midwife ( confident and cheery) ” hello labour ward , midwife speaking how can I help you?”
Tony (nervous voice) ” oh hi – err my partner thinks she’s in labour , it’s our first baby and we are a bit nervous . Could I ask you some questions , she’s here but having a contraction right now and then she feels sick for a few minutes after its gone. 
Midwife “oh right well I need to talk to her please and decide what’s happening’  
I’m not going to continue this but could the midwife change her approach ? Is this midwife you ? A colleague? This approach has been learnt from a peer
Passage Two 

Busy labour ward – phone ringing , midwife answered the phone – we will call the person making the call Tony and his partner who is having a baby is called Dolores. The midwives name will be Darcy . ….

Midwife ( confident and cheery) ” hello labour ward , my name is Darcy Jones I’m a midwife and how can I help you?”
Tony (nervous voice) ” oh hi Darcy – I’m Tony – err my partner Dolores thinks she’s in labour , it’s our first baby and we are a bit nervous . Could I ask you some questions , she’s here but having a contraction right now and then she feels sick for a few minutes after its gone. 
Midwife “ok well I would like to take some details first whilst Dolores has a contraction . Thank you so much for ringing us . How are you feeling ? This is your first baby ? How exciting for you both!” 
I’m not going to continue this but could the midwife change her approach In either scenario – which is the best one in your opinion ?  ? Is either of these scenarios you ? A colleague? This approach has been learnt from a peer. 
So you see two examples each one leaving the person contacting  the service with different emotions . 
Start your journey as a #LeadToAdd leader today  ❤️
Thank you for reading 
Love , Jenny ❤️

The natural caesarean / the gentle caesarean 

There’s a debate on Twitter this morning about the ‘natural caesarean’ as a term that promotes a positive experience of birth by caesarean. I don’t agree with the term and I think as health care professionals working in the area of birth we should ensure that every birth is a positive birth . Milli Hill started the The Positive Birth Movement  with this goal in mind (@birthpositive on Twitter ) 

Bearing this in mind I’d like to ask the following questions for you to consider and share with with your colleagues, family , friends , midwives and obstetricians . 
1. How many women who have an emergency caeserean and/or instrumental birth (forceps or ventouse) are given information in the antenatal period about the far reaching health and psychological benefits of skin to skin contact in this setting to both mother and baby ? 

2. Compare the above with how many women are given information about  skin to skin contact around normal birth ? 

3. Compare both to how many woman are informed that skin to skin is possible during manual removal of placenta and repair of any perineal trauma in the theatre setting ? 

4. Are women informed 

  • They can TELL midwives to defer the weighing of their newborn in order to enjoy the benefits of prolonged skin to skin contact 
  • That they should never be separated from their baby unless a clinical situation becomes apparent or they themselves choose not to have skin to skin contact despite being FULLY informed
  • That their baby could ‘self latch’ at the breast without any handling by staff and also correct its own acidosis and stabilise its own breathing because of skin to skin contact ? 
  • That skin to skin and early breastfeeding “Pronurturance ” is linked to a reduction in the incidence of  postpartum haemorrhage?  CLICK RIGHT HERE for the Pronurturance paper 
  • That if babies could talk they would choose skin to skin contact despite their birth environment 
  • That skin to skin contact is the building block for a persons social and psychological development 

The midwives and staff on social media who talk about caesarean are not promoters of it , they are giving women information about choice – so that if the operation (which is major surgery) does take place then these women are able to not only enjoy their birth experience but give their relationship with their baby the best possible start . 

I suppose it’s similar to the question “does having a teenage pregnancy strategy increase teenage pregnancy rates ?  (and I much prefer the term  “young women”to ‘teenage pregnancy’) 

Does having full information about your choices if you do go on to have a caeserean increase caesarean rates ? I don’t know the answer to either of these questions but I do know that the women I have assisted and sometimes fought for to have skin to skin contact with their newborns in different birth situations have all told me this 

 
-that they never realised the positive impact it had on them as a successful mother

To me this is enough .   
Thank you for reading 

With love , Jenny ❤️

I am also promoting #MatExp as a platform which enables and encourages discussion between women, families and health care professionals . 

The UK Blog Awards 

I have entered this years UK Blog Awards in the Health Category to raise the public profile of midwifery in a positive light . 

Compassion is a crucial part of any midwife’s role and I find that blogging helps me to open the window of my midwifery soul through the written word.

It’s crucial that women and families have access to midwifery support now and in the future . Social media is a great way to connect to others and also to learn , inspire and lead. 

You can vote for me BY CLICKING HERE

Thank you for your ongoing support and for reading and sharing my blog . 

With love from Jenny 💛 

 

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 ❤️ 

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 ❤️

Leadership in the NHS 

Last year I attended the NHS Frontline Leadership course . I went along with an open mind and a positive attitude.

One of the first things I learnt was that anyone can be a leader . It’s not necessarily the people “at the top” or the ones on the highest salary . It’s not distinguished by the  colour of a persons uniform or their banding or grade. It’s about how they interact with others, their kindness ,smiling faces and their keen work ethic that inspires .  

I have ‘tried’ a senior role in the NHS and to be totally frank it was like a badly fitting suit . It felt uncomfortable it looked wrong and I wanted to have a refund and go back to my previous post . I was told I couldn’t be friends with the staff I managed that I needed to ‘keep a distance’  and ‘sort them out’ . I failed I wasn’t tough enough. 

My main aims were to focus on how the women and families  could be emotionally nourished by high quality care encompassed by compassion. I also wanted staff to give ideas that increased their well being so they felt valued , appreciated and made to feel loved .I don’t want to dwell too much about this experience but realising that  I am rather glad it happened has been remarkable in my own personal development. It has obviously strengthened me and given me courage – it is over ten years ago . 

If someone is kind to others they will spread that kindness and it will visibly shine out . Staff that are valued and listened to feel happier and they give better care to patients . 

When staff are tired , undervalued and worn down they loose energy and find it difficult to challenge so instead they choose the easier option which is to comply fit in and accept the culture they are working in – they just exist . 

The reason why the UK Government must sit up and listen to all NHS workers is that we know exactly what is going on – we see and do lots good things but we also know that when we don’t get our lunch break for a few days in a row, or we leave very late each day we become tired . We are in effect subsidising the NHS when we “keep going” we are not meant to be ‘survivors’ or ‘soldiers’ we are supposed to be caring for others but how can we when we sometimes don’t feel cared for ? 

I have been in the NHS since 1980 so therefore I have seen many changes.  The one virtue that I have kept as a constant is my compassion to others and I want to spread this ideal through social media – kindness truly matters . A woman ringing up the maternity unit in early labour can tell if the person answering the phone is kind . A visitor who is lost and asking for directions in the hospital from a busy porter can sense if that porter is kind . A woman in labour will make better progress if her midwife is kind and she will feel safer. 

So here’s the ‘thing’ I want you to do – when you are next in work look around  , listen out , watch , be aware. Ask yourself ‘Am I kind ? Am I a leader ? Am I complying because I’m tired or through fear ? ‘Who are the leaders I admire ?’ – Then buy yourself a copy of Sheena Byrom and Soo Downes book “ROAR BEHIND THE SILENCE” read digest , makes notes and question yourself – you ALL have the ability to be a leader whether you are a future midwife , a nurse , midwife , junior doctor , a porter , a support worker- whatever your role . 

The NHS needs you but more than that the people IN the NHS need you 

Thank you NHS frontline ,all the amazing midwives and maternity workers I know in reality and through social media – you inspire me . 

I’d like to dedicate  this blog to the late Adam Bojelian – a truly amazing patient leader and also to his mum and dad Zoe and Paul who work hard to make us all think differently about the NHS and leadership 

Thank you for reading – please leave your own comments 

Lots of love 

Jenny