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Smoking Cessation Specialist Midwife.

Clinical Practice
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Clinical Practice
  • Public Health
  • Quality Improvement

Area of Practice

  • Midwifery


  • Hospital Care

Job/Role Summary

Within my current post I am responsible for provision of a a tailored smoking cessation service to pregnant women and their partners who smoke in line with Quality Standards. I assess patient knowledge and motivation and utilise a series of tools including behavioural support techniques and motivational strategies to help pregnant women reduce or quit smoking during pregnancy. I coordinate, develop and deliver smoking related training to healthcare staff working with pregnant mothers. I monitor and evaluate smoking cessation rates in pregnancy using relevant statistical data working towards strategic objectives. My role is varied and I work across organisational boundaries and within a team of healthcare professionals delivering maternity care in order to improve outcomes and ensure delivery of safe, effective, person centred services.


Specific qualifications and experience required

I am a Registered Midwife on part 2 of the NMC register and have graduated from Queens University Belfast in 2003 with a BSc 1st class Hons in Midwifery Practice. It is essental to have at least 2 years experience as a a registered midwife at Band 6 and also have completed Smoking Cessation Specialist Training. I also completed Motivational Interviewing Training which facilitates delivery of the smoking cessation service. I 2004 I graduated from Ulster University with a Post Graduate Diploma in Health and Social Care Management. This has enabled me to be more aware of the strategic healthcare arena and the political drivers which influence Service Delivery.  


Career Milestones

Moving from adult nursing in a Gynaecology setting in 2001 to train as a student midwife.

Securing the specialist midwife post in smoking cessation and initiating the Smoke Free Babies Service within the SHSCT in 2015.

Commencing a Quality Improvement Certificate programme in Sept 2017 in which I undertook a small scale quality improvement project within Daisy Hill Maternity Hospital. Objectives were to develop a tool to ensure prompt assessment of smoking status on admission and ensure smokers received timely and appropriate advice and support. This included awareness raising and staff training on Nicotine Replacement Therapy as a method to control Nicotine Cravings while in hospital.


What attracted you to this job?

I had been qualified as a midwife for 12 years and was ready to move into a specialist post where I could gain further experience in the realm of Public Health and Quality Improvement. I had always had special interest in health promotion in both my role as a nurse and a midwife and I felt this post would be a great development opportunity. The Smoking Cessation post gave me a platform to build on the Public Health element of my midwifery role and develop service improvements including a smoking cessation service within Integrated Maternity and Women's Health in SHSCT.


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

I enjoy the diversity of the job as I maintain patient contact on a daily basis but am also involved in teaching, developing patient pathways and leading on Quality Improvement Initiatives.

I get a great deal of satisfaction when a patient is supported to achieve a quit attempt and is so proud of themselves for doing so.

I have had the opportunity to participate on numerous steering groups within the Trust and have contributed to the Northern Ireland Maternity Collaborative. I enjoy working across organisational boundaries, developing practice within clinical care and the smoking cessation team including networking with other smoking cessation specialists regionally.

In addition I am fortunate to have had a high level of encouragement and support from colleagues, managers and other partner organisations such as the Public Health Agency (PHA) and The Health Improvement Team.

Within my role I have a level of autonomy where I have been able to actively contribute to a range of strategic priorities which are relevant to Maternity Care or impact on the Midwifery Profession.


Challenging aspects of the job/role

There are numerous competing clinical priorities in maternity care to ensure good health outcomes for mother and baby and it is challenging to ensure that the key public health messages are delivered, facilitating informed choice for the pregnant mother.

My post has evolved since the introduction of Smoke Free Sites regionally and there are many demands whilst working under pressure to meet deadlines.


Important success factors

Introducing the Carbon Monoxide Screening Tool within Maternity in the (SHSCT) which detects exposure to Carbon Monoxide gas in pregnancy.

Completing a Quality Improvement Certificate where I have been directly able to influence practice development within Integrated Maternity and Women's Health in the Southern Health and Social care Trust.

Involvement with Northern Ireland Practice Education Council (NIPEC) as an Associate Professional Officer on a part time basis where I have had the opportunity to facilitate delivery of numerous Strategic objectives within Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland.


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

Safe, effective, person centred care is at the heart of all we do as healthcare professionals and ultimately we, as midwives, must support our patients to ensure that they are making informed choices in pregnancy.

It helps to be self motivated with an ability to initiate service development/improvement in line with best practice.

Be aware of current health improvement policy/priorities in relation to smoking and tobacco.

It is important to acknowledge that healthcare is constantly evolving and service delivery is influenced by strategic and political drivers which we must be aware of within the field of practice that we work.

Never be afraid to try out new things and take opportunities to network and promote the service at various forums, workshops and conferences.


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

I have developed comprehensive IT and presentation skills and also refined my skills in time management. I have developed high level communication and interpersonal skills and an ability to engage and motivate others.


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