A midwife from Belfast has been appointed as the Royal College of Midwives’ new director for Northern Ireland.
Karen Murray has moved into the role from her previous position as senior professional officer at the Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council for Nursing and Midwifery (NIPEC).
“I feel incredibly privileged to be stepping into this role and it is one I relish”
Ms Murray, who started the job last week, replaces previous Director Breedagh Hughes who retired in July this year.
She has held various clinical midwifery posts before moving into midwifery education, working as a midwifery lecturer at Queens University Belfast for over 14 years.
During this time, she held the position of lead midwife for education for five years.
Following her move to NIPEC in 2016, she has had opportunities to lead and develop initiatives with a particular focus on midwifery, children’s services, safeguarding and public health.
She worked closely with key stakeholders to help develop effective guidance and recommendations to enhance the quality of health care services provided by midwives and nurses.
Commenting on her appointment, Ms Murray said: “I feel incredibly privileged to be stepping into this role and it is one I relish.
“Breedagh Hughes did such a wonderful job, supporting our members, championing choice and rights for women and fighting for even better maternity services for Northern Ireland and I will continue that work,” she said.
“There is no doubt that these are challenging times in many ways for midwives, maternity support workers, women and health services in Northern Ireland; not least the lack of a functioning government,” she said.
She added: “I will continue to make sure that the RCM has a strong voice in all these issues as it always has done. The RCM has a pivotal role to play and I will continue to ensure our voice is heard.”
“This is a great coup for us to have someone of the calibre of Karen joining the RCM”
Gill Walton, chief executive and general secretary of the RCM, said “This is a great coup for us to have someone of the calibre of Karen joining the RCM. She will be a great advocate for midwives, for women and the RCM and I am delighted to be working with her in this new role.”
Ms Murray has a long association with the RCM, having been an active member since 1991 and engaging in RCM branch activities at various points during her career, including serving as vice chair and chair of her local branch.
She also actively promoted the RCM Student Midwives Forum and encouraged and helped students to engage in forum activities recognising the value of the developmental opportunities this provided.