International Day of the Midwife: 'It’s a real privilege'

Using a Wellbeing of Women scholarship, research midwife Sam Nightingale has developed a video to help women prepare for induced labour. For International Day of the Midwife we spoke to her about her journey to midwifery and what she values most about the role

by Sam Nightingale | 5th May 2020

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People don’t always understand why you’d go from palliative care to midwifery, but there’s definitely a connection between the two.

You think about the whole person – how you’ll wrap the services and help that they need around them – and you need to be able to connect with people quickly and in a very deep way.

I’ve been a qualified midwife for 16 years, and before this I worked in nursing in palliative care for 13 years, so working in care of the dying. At the moment I’m working on the ‘hospital floor’ so to speak because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but usually I do a mixture of clinical and research work.

For my research project, A co-creation approach to supporting women’s experiences of birth following induction of labour, I wanted to look at this area as it impacts so many women.

At the moment, 30 to 40% of births are induced, and it can affect women’s birth preferences. If their experience of labour and birth isn’t what they’d hoped for, it can increase their chances of poor mental health afterwards, so the aim of this research was to better prepare women.

I really enjoy being able to interview women about their experiences. You can connect, give them the chance to express their views with the knowledge that sharing may help other women, and use that information to develop better care for women and their families – which, in my case, meant developing this film.

It’s a real privilege that women have been willing to speak to me and be so open about how they feel.

I’m really grateful to Wellbeing of Women for providing opportunities like this entry level research scholarship for midwives so that we are able to undertake research.

Research enables us to influence care for the better, and grants provided by charities such as Wellbeing of Women are an incredibly important part of taking midwifery research forward.

I have explored some very different areas in research, but my desire is for women to receive the best possible care in whatever situation they are.

It’s all about striving for the wellness of women.

Sam Nightingale was awarded the Entry-level Research Scholarship for Midwives, supported by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Burdett Trust for Nursing, in 2019.

Find out more about her project, A co-creation approach to supporting women’s experiences of birth following induction of labour, here.

If you’d like to connect with Sam on Twitter, her handle is @mwsamnight.