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Stuart Graham

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  • Stuart Graham
  • Maternity Support Worker, SEHSCT

What has been your most memorable moment during your career as a Maternity Support Worker?

It’s hard to pick one memorable moment there are so many. 

From reassuring a woman with a severe needle phobia to making her feel safe enough to have her bloods taken and then for her to request me each time she needs bloods taken.

Identifying and referring an asymptomatic woman with very high blood pressure and proteinuria immediately to midwifery/medical staff, ensuring that she got the necessary treatment and finding out afterwards that the outcome was positive for both mother and baby.

On being the first male Maternity Support Worker in Northern Ireland to complete the regional City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Maternity and Pediatric Support.

What do you value most about your role?

I value being a part of the Maternity team, as it gives me the opportunity to meet a diverse range of women and support them throughout their pregnancy.

I value the difference we can make to every woman’s journey throughout their pregnancy be it their first pregnancy or their fifth. We as a team strive to provide a high standard of woman centered care.

I value the difference we can make for the midwives we work with, undertaking tasks they would have previously undertaken. We as Maternity Support Workers have developed our skills providing midwives more time to spend supporting and empowering women.

What motivates you to stay in this area of practice?

Being a Maternity Support Worker (MSW) is such a rewarding role. I get to work with a great team of midwives, medical staff and other members of the multidisciplinary team to ensure that each woman receives a high standard of care and feels empowered to make informed decisions about their pregnancy journey.

I have a special interest in Quality Improvement and like to be involved in initiatives that improve the care and experience of the women we care for as well providing a safer more efficient service that benefits both the woman and the maternity team.  I am a member of the Maternity Champions group in our Trust.  Our aim is to build the Maternity Safety movement within the South Eastern Health and Social Care (SEHSCT) Maternity Unit to help achieve safe, high quality, compassionate care and establish strong mechanisms for shared learning and best practice.

I also enjoy the range of additional training available at both the Trust level and from the Royal Collage of Midwives. This means there is always another goal to reach and another challenge to overcome which keeps me motivated and happy to stay in this area of practice.

What would you say to someone considering a career as Maternity Support Worker?

I have always promoted the role of the Maternity Support Worker to everyone. I believe if you have an interest in midwifery this is a great starting point for your career journey.

This role has given me the opportunity to develop my knowledge and skills.  Since completing the Level 3 Diploma in Maternity and Paediatric Support, I have completed the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Level 2 course in Leadership and Team Skills and I am currently enrolled in Level 3 of this programme.

I am also a Workplace Representative and Branch Secretary with the Royal College of Midwives in the SEHSCT.

The Maternity Support Worker role is constantly evolving and expanding with additional new skills being developed. There are new Specialist Maternity Support Worker roles developed across the UK such as Breastfeeding/Antenatal Screening/Smoking cessation/Diabetes roles. Hopefully these roles will be developed in Northern Ireland in the near future.  This would give me and my colleagues the opportunities to specialise in a specific area of interest. 

Describe a typical day for you as Maternity Support Worker.

There is no such thing as a typical day. Every day is different; different people at different stages of their pregnancy all needing different levels of support!

I normally start my day by cleaning down and stocking up the Test room.

In my role I ensure that antennal screening is done efficiently and accurately by confidently carrying out venipuncture - taking blood samples from each woman at appropriate times during their pregnancy and providing them with information and reassurance when necessary. These and my other duties help to enhance the experience of the women who attend our department and also free up more time for midwives to spend supporting women throughout their pregnancy.

I also ensure that the equipment and stock is ordered and available to let myself and the rest of the Team carry out their work efficiently and effectively.

Most weeks I attend several meetings in relation to my role within our RCM Branch, meeting fellow members from other Unions, management or other RCM colleagues to ensure Maternity Support Workers and Midwives’ concerns are raised at the appropriate level and that they are fully represented and their voices are heard.


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