Midwives often describe their job as 'privileged'. The role they have in preparing women for the delivery of new life makes them a vital presence during all stages of pregnancy, labour and the early postnatal period.
Being a midwife is more than just delivering babies. A midwife is usually the first and main contact for the woman during her pregnancy, throughout labour and the early postnatal period. She is responsible for providing care and supporting women to make informed choices about their care.
Midwives work in all health care settings; for example in the maternity unit of a large general hospital, in smaller stand-alone maternity units, in private maternity hospitals, in group practices, at birth centres, with general practitioners and in the community. The majority of midwives practice within the NHS, working with other midwives in a team and other health care professionals and support staff. Midwives can also practice with social enterprise schemes and independently. There are a small group of midwives who do so. Once registered midwives can use their qualification to work in other health care settings such as special baby care units (SCBU) / neonatal intensive care units (NICU). Some midwives become specialists in areas such as diabetes or public health and perinatal mental health. There are also opportunities to work in research and or education. Midwives can be found practising in many areas and frequently go on to develop their professional expertise and education to higher levels.
Midwives provide woman centered integrated care, which requires them to work shifts, day and night duty, be prepared to take on-call rotas and travel between hospital or institution and mother’s home. The majority of midwives’ pay and working conditions are determined by the NHS pay system called Agenda for Change. A newly qualified midwife’s salary starts at £21,388 per year excluding payment for unsocial hours and on call rota. A midwife has the potential to earn up to £80,000 as a Senior Manager or Midwife Consultant.
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