Personal characteristics and skills required (midwifery)

This page has information on the personal characteristics and skills needed for midwifery.

Midwife with parents and child

There are a range of important skills and knowledge you will need to pursue a career in midwifery.

Excellent people skills

Having babies happens to all sorts of people, so you will be providing professional support and reassurance to a huge diversity of women, during some of the most emotionally-intense periods in their lives.

Good communication and observation

You need to be a good at listening and communicating with women, their partners and families.

Interest in the physical, psychological and process of pregnancy and birth

Working as a midwife you will need to have an in-depth understanding of foetal and child development. It is also important for you to update and test your knowledge against experience.

Ability to answer questions and offer advice

Midwives are the most frequent point of contact for prospective parents, so you must be able to answer their questions, share your knowledge and skills with patients, their families and friends and make sure their needs are recognised by the rest of the team.

Happy to work as part of a team

You’ll be part of a multidisciplinary team liaising with GPs, health visitors and social workers. The better you know each other, the more smoothly the pregnancy and birth are likely to be.

Dealing with emotionally charged situations

You’ll have to stay calm and alert in times of stress, and enable women to feel confident and in control. On the rare occasions where something goes wrong, you have to be ready to react quickly and effectively.

Values and behaviours 

If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work. The same will be true if you are applying for a university course funded by the NHS.

Find out more about the NHS values.

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