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Lead Midwife

Leadership & Management
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Clinical Practice
  • Quality Improvement
  • Management
  • Policy/Strategy Development

Area of Practice

  • Midwifery


  • Hospital Care
  • Community/Primary Care

Job/Role Summary

To work collaboratively with a range of professionals across the acute, community and primary interface with the multi-professional team. Establish strong links with universities, voluntary organisations, service users and carers. To provide visionary leadership and strategic direction to produce real improvements in clinical practice and the quality of care and service to childbearing women. Lead the midwifery service, providing professional leadership to the integrated hospital and community midwifery team. Act as role model and advocate for woman-centred care evidenced-based care in line with national agenda. Explore current research, identify areas for development and plan appropriate change using research and experience to evaluate outcomes. Work as an expert practitioner keeping abreast of current practice and maintaining clinical credibility by regularly participating in clinical practice.


Specific qualifications and experience required

Registered midwife with 5 years experience at G grade; Masters degree willing to work to Ph.D; Experience of practice development, research, networking, project management; Politically aware of national issues.


Career Milestones

Whilst in a staff midwife post mainly on night duty, I gained valuable experience caring for women who presented in normal labour outside hours of medicalised care and induction patterns. In my role in the post-labour ward, I gained experience leading a team. This gave me insight into dealing with difficult people, managing change and networking. The Clinical Nurse Leadership Programme and Practice Development school led to meeting and networking with others. This helped me review ways of working and managing changes. I was appointed to a Practice development post during my career which developed my ability to initiate change and deal with obstructive behaviours.


What attracted you to this job?

Being in a position to lead and influence change within the maternity services. Being in a position to promote true women-centred care. Being able to work collaboratively with representatives of the multi-professional team, challenging routine practices and seeking to improve professional relationships. Being in a position to raise the midwifery profile within the unit and regionally.


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

Working directly with childbearing women and maintaining clinical credibility whilst being a strong advocate for changes in medicalised childbirth. Being able to influence change at various levels and challenging health care professionals to explore current practices. Linking with education providers to ensure midwives of the future are prepared for contemporary challenges.


Important success factors

Strong support from directorate manager/senior staff in my organisation. Strong clinical credibility within the organisation and being an ALSO (Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics) instructor. This brings recognition at medical and midwifery levels. Continuing my education at university to Ph.D level. The research component brings equality of education with the medical level and therefore mutual respect for knowledge in this area.


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

In order to command respect, you need to be able to work at ground level and build up clinical credibility. It is especially important for junior staff to see you as a competent and confident practitioner and you should strive to maintain this credibility. You should have undertaken a leadership programme which will heighten your awareness of difficult people and managing obstructive behaviours. You will need to be very thick skinned and rise above those who refuse to undertake change. You will also need to work with those who see the need. You will need to learn to encourage and support further education at all levels, striving to build up layers of staff who will support and manage change. You will keep sane by leaving work in work and having fun outside work.


Key skills that can be gained within this job/role?

Vocal - Being able to meet health care professionals at all levels and in many settings and being able to promote midwifery issues, becoming a voice for midwifery. I have developed the skill of speaking in public, making strong and logical arguments for change where issues are identified. Advocate - Being able to raise midwifery and childbirth issues at department and board levels. I have developed the skill of speaking in debates logically and professionally. Influence; In education and strategy planning at local level I have developed the skill of seeking appropriate courses and influencing change; Networking; At a wider level in the work arena. This involves working and liaising with people at all levels; Support; I support staff at all levels and in many matters. There is skill in encouraging self-awareness and action learning; I encourage change and seek evidenced-based practice exploring the options available. I have developed skills in researching and auditing.


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