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Caseload holding practice at Bournemouth University - the student view

aura Radburn

My aim as a student midwife is to act as an informed companion throughout a woman’s journey to motherhood. I aspire to uphold a woman’s autonomy by providing her with the knowledge and skills she needs to make choices that are well informed and reflect her personal values and beliefs. I will seek to do this by fostering a trusting and respectful relationship which engenders open and honest discussion so that a woman feels listened to, nurtured and cared for, and thus confident in her own ability to nurture and care for her growing baby. This sense of empowerment is important to me and is reflected in my own belief in the fundamental power of giving birth, as an awesome physiological phenomenon, which works best when left to develop instinctively, at its own pace and with minimal interference. Birth should be a spiritual, transformative experience for all those involved, and I hope to foster an environment that promotes self-confidence in a woman as she becomes a mother.

I have attempted to articulate my ethos in the imagery of hands within hands which symbolise support, which is reassuring but not restrictive, responds to a woman’s unique needs and sustains her in her motherhood.

Emily Blackwell

I value good communication, not only in the form of speaking but also listening. I feel that with good, open and honest communication it allows trusting relationships to be built. Another value of mine is honesty, whether this is being honest about your levels of competency or honest about a mistake. Being able to have the courage to admit to your mistakes allows you to grow and better yourself in the future. I hope that I always have the courage to step outside my comfort zone and try new things, even if I am scared or nervous. I want to have the courage to be an advocate for woman, speaking up when necessary for what I belief in. I want the care I provide to be empathetic and caring, showing compassion and respect throughout my career as a midwife, retaining the passion I feel now, forever. I want to provide holistic care, being with woman, feeling the excitement the parents feel not just seeing them as “another family”. I hope that my values remain throughout my training and into my career, not losing sight of what I have always dreamed of becoming- a midwife.  

Georgia Heckford

Labour and birth is a normal physiological process. My philosophy of care surrounds an artistic approach and woman centred ideology. Femininity sits at the centre of midwifery for me, and reflective practice is an important aspect of delivering the best care. A woman’s birth story is often the most important to her, and is certainly one she never forgets, so as a midwife we have a duty to have a positive influence on this. I want to ensure women are given the power to make their own choices, while being fully informed and I want to be the type of midwife that always supports this.

I hope to help women feel proud of themselves and what they are capable of through the childbearing period, regardless of their pregnancy or type of birth. This includes helping women to reflect on their journey into motherhood. This is done by promoting women’s rights and holistic needs to ensure a positive and safe experience for all women through the childbearing continuum. Woven through my personal philosophy of care are the NHS 6C’s; Care, Commitment, Compassion, Communication, Courage and Competence (National Health Service [NHS] England 2015).

To be able to provide women with the best care, all of these must be met and are of great significance in guiding practice, particularly in relation to Caseloading practice. Midwifery to me has a big emphasis on being with woman by being a pillar of strength when woman may feel most vulnerable by empowering them and making them feel safe and comforted. Also embedded in my personal philosophy of care is science, my own personal knowledge from previous experiences and my own ethics. Women’s choices are paramount, and ensuring she is fully informed to make these choices are a priority of mine. Being able to practice autonomously through student Caseloading is also an integral part of midwifery because there is such emphasis on accountability and responsibility, which will prepare me for the future.

Becky Bagnall

Adaptable, tailored, individualised care will help create a more positive experience.

Disappointment can be a reality and should be supported and acknowledged.

Pregnancy is a journey into the unknown, a unique experience.

With kindness and support I will help a woman gain confidence in her own abilities.

Mindfulness and a listening ear will help me to tune into a woman’s feelings.

Arleta Luraniec

My personal philosophy as a practicing midwife consists of several key values, the first of which is kindness. This applies to the women in my care as well as those with whom I work. Kindness plays a large role in one’s ability to work closely with others, gaining their trust and being able to have open, honest and meaningful conversations throughout the continuum of care. In midwifery, it is likely that one will experience situations that are easy to judge poorly from an outside perspective, however it is my duty to remain impartial and treat every woman and colleague around me in a fair, kind manner.

Secondly, I feel that the ability to communicate clearly and effectively plays a paramount role in high quality care. Without adequate communication skills, it will be impossible to convey knowledge to women in my care. Key information may be missed, putting the safety of her and her child at risk. This also applies to my colleagues and other health professionals, as lacking the ability to communicate important information in a timely manner. Communication both ways is imperative, so allowing others to communicate their thoughts to me is just as important as being able to do the reverse. They may provide me with important details that could otherwise be missed, leading to substandard care being provided.

Finally, I feel that some of the time I spend with women should be used to educate women throughout their pregnancy. During my progression as a student midwife I have seen missed opportunities to guide women to resources that are available to them, leaving them struggling in the later stages of pregnancy. Using the opportunities that I get to educate women early on will allow them to make informed choices on the progress of their care, leading to happier, healthier women and babies. As I will have the chance to build relationships with women in my care, I will be able to identify and address the primary areas of education specific to each individual, whether that be breastfeeding concerns, fear of labour or a general anxiety towards motherhood. These three areas combined will allow me to provide effective, personalised care to women with whom I work. Effective communication between us, with a caring and kind outlook on her situation will allow me to identify the primary areas for me to provide my knowledge on in order to provide her with the best possible pregnancy experience that I am able to.

Vicky Duchezeau

To some she is `just a woman`,

To me she is incredible,

She is unique,

An individual,

Does she not know,

I am her number one fan,

I will believe in her,

When she does not believe in herself,

To share my knowledge,

Gives her power,

Power to choose,

I am here to be `with woman`,

I want women to know their power,

To trust their instincts,

To trust their bodies,

For childbirth is a natural process,

I am here in `awe` of you,

Privileged to witness such natural beauty and strength,

When supported and empowered,

With kindness, respect and dignity,

Then women can truly call it their own.

Etoile Gulliver

I became a midwife to make a difference, to help empower women to believe they are the best versions of themselves, especially during lifechanging moments.  It is important for me to help educate women without prejudice about the childbirth continuum.  I find through effective education women can make better informed decisions about the care they wish to receive and are able to make decisions about how they wish to continue their journey into family life. 

To enable someone to feel empowered, it is vital the communication method is right, I always speak with women with respect, compassion and kindness.  I find I am a chameleon who can adapt my communication approach with women in order to achieve the best outcomes for the women in terms of their care needs, preferred communication style and relationship rapport.  This may sound as though I am superficial.  I will mirror their communication style but, I am always true to my personal philosophy in order to support the best interests of the women within my care.

There will be times when I need to show courage while advocating for women when working collaboratively with other multidiscipline professionals.  These conversations can either be quite straight forward if well communicated or quite fractious.  In either case for me, it is important to stand up for what I believe is right and what is in the best interest of the woman and her family.  Likewise, ensuring any conversation with a woman within my care is meaningful.  This means the conversation needs to be respectful of her wishes, acknowledge and listen to her concerns and collaboratively create an individualised care plan to enable her to have confidence in me as a safe practicing midwife, and ultimately believe the decisions she makes are in the best interest of herself and her family.