Posted 19 April 2012 - 07:19 AM
I am a delivery suite midwife. I do a few "nursing skills" such as take blood pressures, assess vital signs, take bloods, administer IV fluids or drugs or give medications, however, the rest of my skills are midwifery skills. I assess women in labour or not in labour, care for women in labour, do speculum exams and vaginal examinations if required, palpate contractions, assess liquor (ruptured membranes) colour throughout labour, monitor the baby's heart rate, interpret CTGs, deliver babies, and care for both the woman and her baby after the birth. I also look after high risk antenatal cases as well, such as women experiencing threatened prem labour, pre eclampsia and antepartum haemmorhage for whatever reason. Also, we deal with a bit of sad stuff in our unit, such as neonatal loss.
I find the neonatal loss hard to cope with as anyone would but I also find that I do reflect a lot on care I give a lot and it is hard not to blame yourself if the woman's birth experience wasn't 100% fabulous, you do blame yourself unnecessarily sometimes. I just ensure I deliver care within hospital and practice guidelines, protect myself and the patient 100%, document EVERYTHING and keep my in charge and the doctors in the loop whenever necessary. My role as a midwife is just a part of the scope of practice midwives have. Midwives work in antenatal clinics, antenatal wards, with babies, with postnatal women, even in the community. Our scope of practice is huge.
I guess you can get in touch with the Maternity Coalition about learning more about being a midwife, however midwifery has different models of care, so not every midwife is the same. Midwives who work in hospitals tend to either work in low risk, hospital based midwifery models of care, like GP shared care, midwife clinics or midwifery group practice. There are also some midwives who work alongside doctors in their public or private clinics to give women midwifery support. Then there are midwives who work privately as home birth midwives or out in the community as domicilliary midwives. You may want to get in touch with your local university to learn more about courses offered and what the role of midwife involves.
Your work experience is a caring role but may not help with getting you into midwifery. Your background in Psychology, however, may be useful and seeing as you have a degree, you may find it easier to get into a course. You may like to consider becoming a doula, at least to build up your support and advocacy skills.
Best of luck with it all. Where are you thinking of applying for your course?