Each day we receive a number of different enquries from people looking to train as a midwife. Aspiring candidates are drawn to the caring and helpful nature of the job, along with the idea of looking after new mothers and their babys. In order to help potential midwife candidates, we have created this blog. This blog will provide you with some useful tips on how to train as a midwife, and also on how to find midwifery vacancies.
What qualifications do I need to become a midwife?
In order to become a registered midwife, you will need to undertake either a Pre-Registration Midwifery Degree Course or a Midwifery Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) Course. These courses provide both an academic and professional qualification through integrated study of theory and supervised practice. Upon successful completion of such a course you will be qualified to register with the NMC as a midwife.
Pre-registration midwifery education courses take place in higher education institutions. These courses are usually 3 years in duration (4 years in Scotland), however, some institutions offer accelerated programmes for students who are already graduates in a related subject area, for example registered nurses, or for those who already have several years’ experience working in the NHS, for example as a maternity support worker. Some institutions also offer extended part time courses tailored for students with, for example, family commitments.
Both diploma and degree courses in midwifery begin with a common foundation programme (CFP), which provides a general introduction to midwifery nursing.
Midwifery degree and diploma courses are designed to combine theoretical study with hands-on clinical practice experience with women, babies and their families. Supervised clinical practice will comprise half of the course programme and may take place in hospitals, within the community, in the home, or in midwife-led birth centres.
Midwifery training generally follows a modular course structure where you will study core subjects such as biological sciences, applied sociology, psychology and professional practice. During the course you will be taught to understand, facilitate and promote normal childbirth as well as to identify the diverse complications that can arise during pregnancy, labour and in the postnatal period.
You will also gain experience in working with other health professionals, and when to seek assistance in the implementation of emergency measures. The provision of information, effective communication, and the promotion of health and well-being in women, their babies and families, will form a fundamental backbone to the course.
You will be assessed continuously as you complete each module, although examinations may also form a part of the final assessment process. In order to successfully complete your midwifery training and become a qualified midwife, you must achieve the standards of proficiency laid down by the Nursing and Midwifery Council
Upon graduation a midwifery degree or diploma course will lead to NMC registration. The actual degree qualification obtained varies between institutions and courses, but is most likely to be one of the following, with or without Honours.
- Bachelor of Midwifery (BM)
- Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc)
- Bachelor of Sciences (BSc)
- Bachelor of Arts (BA)
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the governing body that sets the standards of entry for midwifery courses, which vary dependent upon whether you are embarking on a diploma course or a degree course.
You will find that most educational institutions will require 5 GCSEs at grade C or higher (or equivalent qualifications as above) plus at least 2 A Levels, one of which should usually be a Science subject. Entry to Midwifery Degree Courses can be competitive, therefore the required A Level grades may vary between different institutions, so you should check the individual requirements for the institutions you are interested in training at.
General NMC Entry Requirements
In addition to satisfying the academic requirements for the programmes/institutions you wish to apply to, in order to train as a midwife you will also need to meet the NMC’s general entry requirements for:
- Literacy and numeracy
- Health clearance
- Contact the institutions you wish to apply to if you have any concerns regarding any health problems that may affect your ability to work or study.
- Good character
- If you are applying for a course where you will be working with vulnerable groups, e.g. children, your name may be referred for a Criminal Records Bureau check.
Finding a Midwife Vacancy
So, where are vacancies for midwives advertised? The best place to start looking is on the NHS Jobs Website. NHS Jobs is the national website where jobs within the NHS are advertised. The website covers over 400 NHS organisations across England and has recently welcomed a further 57 organisations from NHS Wales. Here you can search for midwifery vacancies by salary bracket, job description or just by using specific keywords. You can then apply for numerous midwifery vacancies online across the NHS in England and Wales.
Another great feature of this website is that you can register your interest when specific jobs become available. Once you have registered your interest you will receive email notification of relevant posts, ensuring you hear about all the jobs as soon as they become available.
Whilst increasing numbers of NHS organisations, Trusts and hospitals use the NHS Jobs website to recruit midwives, some may still take responsibility for their own recruitment process.
You can check whether a particular employer uses the NHS Jobs website for recruitment using the Employer List search facility on the website. If you cannot find the employer there, then you should contact the personnel/human resources department of the organisation or Trust you are interested in working within.
You can find contact details and website addresses for NHS Trusts by visiting www.nhs.uk. You may also find that some hospitals or Trusts will have their own information bulletins or vacancy boards.
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