Not to sound like mystic meg, but I knew something like this would happen.
After the bursary went, I think many of us thought it was only a matter of time before midwifery applicant numbers went down. And the obvious solution to that is to provide some more funding to get midwives into the profession.
I’ve been stalking the RCM website for news about this situation and of course, up popped a post on ‘Midwifery Apprenticeships’. These courses are currently being created, looking to take their first midwifery candidates in 2019.
It’s big news for anyone wanting to become a midwife in the UK.
Apprenticeships train you while working and the government pay course fees while you receive a wage.
I love the idea – you shouldn’t have to pay for your qualification and getting a wage on the job is an even bigger endorsement of the importance of midwives
But I’m gutted for the students currently getting a midwifery degree and paying for their course fees as well as taking out a big loan so they can live.
The course fees only disappeared in 2016/7 and at the time the government seemed to think they’d get even more midwives applying. Something about student midwives being able to borrow more money so they’d be more solvent while training.
I don’t think anyone was fooled by the concept of having more debt being better for us, but regardless some aspiring midwives love the profession so much they chose to train regardless.
But some couldn’t, for financial reasons.
There is the argument that a midwifery degree is a higher qualification worth paying for. An apprenticeship might not open up as many options, especially if you want a Masters or to go into research.
But as a route to becoming a practising midwife, it’s a solid option.
In terms of whether midwives need to be academic and have a degree, there are a few ways of looking at it.
A degree can give you the skills to assess research and this is needed to practice with critical awareness. But frankly I have a degree and the most I’ve understood on this subject has been from Ben Goldacre’s ‘Bad Science’ and there excellent free podcasts and blogs that can teach you this stuff if you’re motivated.
There are plenty of midwifery mentors out there who don’t have a degree or a diploma and they seem amazing at their jobs.
I suspect that different strengths on the shop floor is a good idea; if some midwives come from apprenticeships and they’re amazing at co-ordinating a busy ward and dextrous at tricky clinical skills, and some midwives come from degrees with advanced knowledge of research, women will get better care overall. Different training options might help us play to our strengths.
So good might come out of this situation yet.
I can’t help but be frustrated about the government taking away the bursary and then having to address the lack of candidates with an apprenticeship. Could they not have just listened and left things as they were?
Adapting to the political situation has always been part of a midwifery role, however 🙂
What are your thoughts?
Are apprenticeships a good idea, helping bring practically minded midwives into the profession?
Or is it unjust to the midwives currently training and paying for their courses?
Let me know in the comments!
Much Love, Ellie x
P.S. Yesterday my novel 'New Walk' went to print.
I spent four years working on it.
I'm so grateful to have been able to complete it, for the experiences that led to it, for the guts and soul of midwifery that I was able to spend time with while writing, for Pinter & Martin deciding it had a place on their list.
I'm a little sorrowful that I don't get to spend time writing inside this book anymore but mostly joyful.
Thanks for your giant-hearted support.
Time for a glass of wine
Links for New Walk:
Available for preorder from: https://goo.gl/iV9z6C
Kindle version available for preorder at: https://goo.gl/nJJ1WK