Five midwives from across the UK have received a prestigious Royal College of Midwives fellowship for their contribution to the profession across a variety of fields.
The group of midwives received their fellowship, which is an honour given to just a handful of midwives each year, at the RCM education conference in Bath on Wednesday.
Those awarded were:
- Professor Julia Sanders, professor of clinical nursing and midwifery, Cardiff University
- Amanda Mansfield, consultant midwife and interim professional nurse lead, London Ambulance Service NHS Trust
- Sarah Gregson, consultant midwife, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
- Professor Sara Kenyon, professor of evidence based maternity care, University of Birmingham
- Dianne Garland, midwife and lecturer, founder of MidwifeExpert
One recipient, Amanda Mansfield, is the first pre-hospital consultant midwife to be recognised with an RCM fellowship.
For Ms Mansfield, the fellowship particularly focuses on her current role at London Ambulance Service, where she has improved safety for women during pregnancy, birth and postnatally when using the emergency services.
She has achieved this by developing and delivering educational resources for emergency services staff, from those working in the control room to patient-facing clinicians.
Her ambition is for each ambulance service to introduce a lead midwifery role to ensure that every woman who requires aid from these services during pregnancy is able to receive maternity care from “skilled and compassionate” clinicians.
“All of these midwives have in many different ways made significant and important contributions to midwifery”
The RCM said Ms Mansfield has pioneered the role of midwifery leadership within the pre-hospital maternity arena. Ms Mansfield said she was: “Overwhelmed by this honour”.
Cardiff midwife and professor Julia Sanders, who also received a fellowship, said she too was “delighted and honoured” to become an RCM fellow.
Ms Sanders, who has been a midwife since 1986, has combined clinical, teaching and research tools throughout most of her career.
She currently works in a post jointly between Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, where she develops and delivers research and encourages others to do the same.
Ms Sanders is the lead on a programme of midwifery research at Cardiff University and is currently working on a study to evaluate the safety of water birth for mothers and babies, and the effectiveness of the Family Nurse Partnership Programme in England and Scotland.
She is also the Wales National Institute for Health Research lead for reproductive health and childbirth.
Upon receiving her award, Professor Sanders said: “I would like to thank all my clinical and academic colleagues who have inspired, supported and encouraged me throughout my career, and also the many women and midwives who have contributed, or will contribute to future research projects.
“I anticipate that the fellowship will provide new opportunities for me to support midwives in their care of women, babies and families,” she added.
Another midwife Sarah Gregson, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the profession, also became an RCM fellow this week.
During her career, Ms Gregson has worked as a practicing midwife in several maternity units in the South East of England and recently retired from her consultant midwife post at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.
Ms Gregson has also been recognised for pioneering a broad range of care initiatives, including improving midwifery care for women who become critically ill during childbirth in the early 2000s, and the development of a new free-standing midwifery-led unit at Maidstone in 2011.
Commenting on her award, Ms Gregson said: “My many years of work as a midwife have been an absolute privilege and I feel incredibly honoured and lucky to receive the RCM fellowship award.”
In addition, Sara Kenyon, who qualified as a midwife in 1982, was also awarded the fellowship. She has been described by the RCM as a “trailblazer” throughout her career, while noting she was among the very first midwives in the UK to perform ultrasound scans of pregnant women.
She has also been recognised for helping to develop a scanning course for midwives.
Ms Kenyon leads a West Midlands based project which has developed a maternity triage system, and training for midwives to standardise their discussion with women about where they want to give birth.
She is also leading research looking at the use of the drug Oxytocin in delayed and induced labour and links to caesarean section rates.
Passionate about supporting midwives to undertake research, she is also deputy chair of Health Education England and National Institute of Health Research Integrated Clinical Academic Programme Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship Scheme Panel.
This is an initiative that supports midwives who want to stay in clinical practice and also undertake research.
Professor Kenyon, said: “I have always been passionate about midwifery, research and in improving care for mothers and babies, so to have been recognised as a fellow of the RCM really means a huge amount to me.”
In addition, Dianne Garland, a midwife from West Kingsdown who now runs her own midwifery consultancy company, has received the RCM fellowship.
Ms Garland’s fellowship recognises her pioneering research work, clinical practice and education around water birth.
Having qualified as a midwife in 1983, Ms Garland has worked as a midwife for over 40 years.
In 2005, Ms Garland started MidwifeExpert.com- a Kent-based midwifery consultancy company. Through MidwifeExpert, she lectures and does consulting work internationally.
Speaking about her award, Ms Garland said: “I am very honoured to accept the fellow of RCM award.
“I have been supporting women who wish to use water since 1986 and travelled the world to assist mothers having the opportunity for this quiet calm birth choice,” she said.
RCM president Kathryn Gutteridge said: “All of these midwives have in many different ways made significant and important contributions to midwifery.
“Most importantly all of their efforts lead ultimately to better care for women, babies and their families. I congratulate them all on their well-deserved achievements,” she said.