Real-life story - Jamie Richardson
After working as a registered nurse in maternity, Jamie decided to do a diploma in midwifery.
How I got into the role/scheme/apprenticeship?
While training to become a nurse, I chose placements in gynaecology and maternity. I worked as a general nurse for 18 months and then applied to Greenwich University to do a diploma in midwifery.
I really enjoyed working in maternity and knew then that I would end up in a role where I could have varied experience – midwifery attracted me.
My first qualified post was at the Royal London Hospital. I was there for six years and during that time I was supported while doing further courses. I did my bachelor's degree and master's degree in midwifery, followed by a master's in teaching. Leading up to this current role, I was very well supported and encouraged.
What I do
Primarily, the consultant midwife role is a leadership role, and one of the main things I have done was open an in-hospital birth centre in May 2006. There are five rooms in the birth unit, aiming for 300 births a year. On a day-to-day basis, I might work in the birth centre in a clinical capacity, which would involve looking after women in labour. I'm also a qualified neonatal examiner and run regular training sessions including foetal monitoring and water births.
On top of this there are clinical leadership duties, which involve discussing guidelines, clinical improvement, and rewriting the university's 18-month and three-year programmes.
Your career plans and top tips for others
From my experience, if you have drive, the opportunities are there – you have to go for it. You have to be a team player – it's really important whether you are in the community or on a ward. You have to be prepared for the unexpected because in some ways we are like a mini A&E.
It's not an easy job but as long as you remember why you are here – for the mothers and their babies – it keeps you going. And you have got to have a really good sense of humour. If I see that on an application form, it impresses me.