Maternity support workers assist midwives in caring for women and their babies through the vital stages of pregnancy, childbirth and the first few days of birth.
Training and qualifications required
There are no set entry requirements for MSWs. Employers expect a good standard of numeracy and literacy and may ask for GCSEs or equivalent and a qualification in health and social care, nursery nursing or childcare such as CACHE, NNEB, BTEC or NVQ. They usually ask for experience of working with children and families. This can be either or paid or voluntary work. There are often posts advertised for midwifery assistants and maternity healthcare assistants which could enable you to gain experience to apply for positions as an MSW. You will get the training you need to do the job and may be offered the chance to study for qualifications such as the NCFE CACHE level 2 Certificate in Healthcare Support Services or the NCFE CACHE level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support.
Expected working hours and salary range
Clinical support staff working in the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. As a maternity healthcare assistant, you will typically start on AfC band 2 or 3. With experience and further training, you can apply for posts as a maternity support worker at band 4. MSWs in the NHS work standard hours of around 37.5 a week. They often work shifts, which could involve nights, early starts, evenings and weekends. Terms and conditions will usually be different for clinical support staff working outside of the NHS.
Desirable skills and values
You'll need to be caring and patient, able to work with people from all walks of life, accepting of other peoples lifestyles, physically fit, flexible and adaptable to deal with unpredictable situations, able to follow instructions and procedures, willing to be present at childbirth, able to work under pressure, able to deal with other people’s emotions. You'll also need excellent communication and organisational skills
With experience you could become a senior support worker. You could apply for other jobs in the wider healthcare team or you could apply to train as an assistant practitioner, midwife or nurse