Today we say a special thank you to all our midwives, maternity support workers and student midwives across the Trust.
Collectively they play a vital role in the lives of thousands of families across Sussex, building relationships that grow and deepen over time.
In fact, midwifery goes far beyond supporting parents with pregnancy and the birth of their child – it also involves advocacy, screening, health promotion, infant feeding and bereavement support. Many midwives are also involved in education, research, leadership and management.
This morning, Emma Chambers, Director of Midwifery, sent a special video message to her maternity colleagues on this day of celebration and will share their valued contributions at this afternoon’s All Staff Briefing.
Emma, who qualified as a midwife in East Sussex in 1998, explains:
I am forever humbled to see and hear examples of the impact our midwifery colleagues have on women, pregnant people and their families.
“Their determination, resilience and compassion enables them to provide personalised care, supporting families throughout one of the greatest and most important moments in their lives.
“Today is the opportunity to say thank you. I feel incredibly proud of what is achieved together across our services.”
Year in review
International Day of the Midwife also provides the opportunity to reflect. In the past year at UHSussex, our multi-disciplinary teams have helped almost 9,000 families to birth their babies from May 2022 – April 2023.
Following a successful recruitment drive, we are projected to be fully recruited by the Autumn when we will welcome our current students as newly qualified midwives.
Our colleagues all have their own unique stories of starting and developing their midwifery careers. Hear from some of our newest colleagues, as well as those with many years’ experience at the Trust.
Marie Hornsby joined Royal Sussex County Hospital in 1999 as a maternity care assistant and qualified as a midwife in 2004. Alongside her role as a midwife, Marie is also a Labour Ward Co-ordinator, Lead Midwife for Newborn Infant Physical Examination and teaches a masters module to midwives across the Trust.
“I always look forward to coming to work and that has never waned,” says Marie. “The beauty of a long shift is you could start your day with someone in early labour and end your day having seen them through their journey. It is so lovely to see that transition from fear, pain and exhaustion to just pure joy. It never gets old.”
Registered Midwife Amy King joined Princess Royal Hospital several weeks ago after having a keen interest in the career from a young age.
She said: “I find it really rewarding watching families walk out with their new addition, knowing we have done our best to provide them with the best care.”
Michelle Lane is a Preceptorship Midwife, who joined St Richard’s Hospital in 2000 after falling in love with midwifery during her nursing training.
She said: “As a preceptorship midwife, it’s about fostering the next generation of midwives and seeing them progress. It’s wonderful to watch their competence and confidence grow and flourish.”
Midwife Ruth Anscombe has recently returned to Worthing Hospital after training there three and a half years ago.
“There is such a variety, every day is different,” said Ruth. “You get to meet so many different people and have a small part to play at one of the most important times of their life.”
Jessica Tester joined Royal Sussex County Hospital as a Maternity Care Assistant in March this year.
When asked about what advice she would give to others thinking about starting a career in midwifery, she said: “If you have that drive to help people then it is something you should definitely go for.
“I have always been a caring person, so I wanted to do something that involved care and supporting people.
“I’m loving my first few weeks. It is incredibly rewarding and it is nice to know you are making a difference and helping where you can.”
- Bake Off – It wouldn’t be a celebration without cake, so our midwifery colleagues have been challenged to a bake-off – to make and decorate a cake that highlights International Day of the Midwife. Look out for photos that will be shared on our @sussexmaternityservices social pages.
- Sea dip – There is also the opportunity to take part in a celebratory dip in the sea at several swimming events taking place today. Colleagues will gather on the beach in front of Rockwater in Hove at 10am, and at Widewater Lagoon in Shoreham at 10am. Everyone is welcome to attend – maternity staff, friends and family – and there will be celebratory cake.
- Heart of love – There will be the opportunity for maternity colleagues to write their heartfelt message of what it means for them to be a midwife, and why they love their role, which will be added to a special ‘heart of love’ board in the Delivery Suite at Worthing Hospital.
- Maternity Voices Partnership visits – Maternity Voices Partnership are visiting each of our hospital sites with their tea trollies and selections of cakes to speak with our midwives and celebrate their profession. A representative from the Regional Chief Midwifery Officers team will also be visiting Princess Royal Hospital to chat with our Haywards Heath colleagues.
Interested in starting your own midwifery journey at UHSussex? Explore the different roles we have to offer and how you can become part of the team by visiting the midwifery careers page on our website.