Real-life story - Nicola Greenfield
Nicola’s mum was a midwife so she developed an interest in midwifery from a young age. She is now a registered community midwife who mentors future midwives.
How I got into the role
My mum was a midwife, so growing up I had always been interested in midwifery as a career. I was lucky enough to undertake work experience in a local hospital maternity unit when I was at school. After my A-levels, I applied to university for a BSc in midwifery and health science.
I took a year out before my degree and became a maternity care assistant in another local hospital to become familiar with the maternity setting to ensure this was the career I wanted, and to also learn some basic nursing skills.
I returned to start university and three years later graduated with a degree in midwifery. I have been a qualified midwife for over 13 years. In that period, I have worked as a labour ward midwife, in a postnatal ward and in a buddy system to offer continuity of care. However my heart lies in community midwifery where I have my own caseload of clients who are attached to a GP surgery.
In the last eight years, I have worked in the same GP surgery as a community midwife, seeing and supporting families through their pregnancies.
What I do
I work part time due to having my own young family. My role entails either working a day in the clinic (antenatal or postnatal), seeing pregnant women or women who are ready to be discharged from maternity care. In other shifts, my work consists of visiting mothers postnatally – offering them support, helping with breast feeding and getting them adjusted to the early days at home with a new baby.
I also work ’home birth shifts’where we are on call for any ladies in the area who are planning a home birth. However this day can be quite varied; if we are not at a home birth, we visit postnatal mothers, or work in the delivery suite or postnatal ward to support our hospital colleagues. This is also a great way of keeping up with hospital protocols and keeping multi-skilled.
The best bits and challenges
I love the continuity of care and the support I can offer to my clients. It is wonderful to see clients and their families return a couple of years later with subsequent pregnancies.
I am a sign-off mentor and love working with student midwives, especially introducing the first year students to midwifery during their first placement, which is in the community. Following them through to the third year and watching them grow into midwives and taking the lead in offering care to women and their families makes me so proud.
Life outside work
I have a Cavapoo pet dog who I love taking for walks with my children. It is great to get out and get some fresh air, and have some time out to reflect and relax after a busy shift.
I think the key to having a healthy work-life balance is turning off your phone at the end of the day, and remembering that you are part of a team who will support you.
Career plans and top tips for others
I have been doing aromatherapy training where I offer aromatherapy to women in labour. This has been great for home births as I am able to offer further pain relief options for clients. Recently I signed up for a diploma in aromatherapy to increase my knowledge and skills.
My advice to someone considering this role is that it’s important to understand that being a successful community midwife is all about teamwork, communication and continuity.