FAO - Ollier2001

Hi, I hope Im not being cheeky but Ive got a couple of Qs about becoming a mw.

What sort of training/Qualifications do you need and how long roughly would it take to gain them.
Can you work flexible hours or for someone like me with 3 small children is it silly to even consider trying? Id really love to do this and am sure one day I will but am I being unrealistic at the moment?

Thankyou, Elaine xx


  • hi Elaine - dont be daft, of course i'll try and help!!!

    first of all, you now either need A-levels, equivalent, or an access to nursing course, as it is now a degree course. your local college will do the access course, but i am not entirely sure how long it is - i think 1yr full time, 2 part time, but ??? - if you post for Heather*Matthew*Joshua, she is doing this at the moment, so will be far more help on this than i am -sorry!!

    when you train, you will spend time in uni which isn't flexible, but you are not always in from 9-5 mon-fri - you usually get a time table in advance so you should be able to work childcare.

    any lost time (kids / you sick) HAS to be made up, and you cannot qualify without delivering 40 babies in your training - that is an NMC requirement. you also need to care for a certain number of women in labour / check over babies etc- you and the midwife you work with (mentor) also have to go through acres of paperwork, discussing communication skills, etc so you can qualify.

    when you are on the wards or community, it will prob be 5 days a week (depending on uni/hospital), but these can be days / nights / weekends / lates / earlies etc so are fairly flexible, but you should work with one mentor so really should follow her shifts. it is acceptable that every now and then you work with someone else, but i know that Salford uni (in Manchester) will not pass anyone who hasnt worked with one person for a minimum of 40% of the time.

    when you qualify, depending on your hours, most units are pretty good with flexibility - for example, it is much easier for me to work weekends for childcare, so i usually always do my 14hr day then. my 8 hr shift is on the Antenatal Day Unit, so is always in the week, usually a late. i can get my 14hr day during the week, but as they know it is easier for the weekend, they are very good to me!!

    it will be very hard with the boys, due to their age. - the main problem for you will be the cost of childcare, as for the 3 yrs of training, until they started at school, you will be paying full time for them (unless you've got a good friend / mum etc). you will also need to find someone to have them flexible until your oh can take them for you.

    as for the home studying - this can be quite time consuming, and you wont find everything on the net. you will need to spend time in the library, as they need you to look at all sorts - sociology / psychology as well as midwifery. you will need to do all types of research so you can write the assignments you will be given. textbooks are still as dear second hand on ebay, and you will need some good ones to set you up - maybe get as xmas pressies when you start? - they are about ??25-30 each, and you will need a good anatomy one, and a good midwifery one at least!.

    HOWEVER!!! once qualified, it really is a fantastic job!! it is hard work, even when you've been qualified a while, as there are always other things they want you to do - for example, i've been qualified 11 yrs, and now provide the support groups for all the girls who have been qualified less than 2 yrs!! this has also involved preparing a lot of them for their continuinng developement portfolio. i did 12 extra hours last month due to this!!! i also inadvertently volunteered myself to do 2 sessions for student midwives on basic care (ie drug administration / catheterisation etc!!), so there go 2 more of my days off!!!!

    as for the pay..... full time on qualifying is approx ??20k at the moment + unsocial hours. after 1yr, if you complete the portfolio, it goes up to about ??24k + unsocial hrs

    it wont be easy, but if you are sure it is what you want to do, then definately go for it!!! you wont look back!! good luck!!!

    if there is anything else, let me know - i'm not bothered at all - you aren't cheeky!!

    (i would like to stress that any spelling or grammatical errors are Isobel's, not mine!! she has "helped" me type my reply!!) :\)
  • hmmm, i think heather*matthew*joshua is now 2peez-in-a-pod......
  • Hi, can i get in on this Q&A session too?!!
    I've been interested in midwifery for a while now but not completely sure if it's the career for me so is there something else i can do that relates to it? Just because it's a lot of time and money to spend on something i'm not entirely sure i'm going to be able to handle
  • hi hon!!

    the best way to get a good idea of midwifery is to get a job as an HCA (Health Care Assistant) in your local maternity unit. even though our job is quite different to that of an HCA, you will get to see what a midwife does in many ways. (dont take this the wrong way), but as a mum, you dont get to see a lot of what midwives do, and although it may give you a damn good idea - pregnancy, childbirth, postnatal etc, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye! (please dont think here i'm putting mw's on a pedestal as i can assure you - i'm not)

    many mw's will rotate thru different area's eg-"scrub" in theatre for c/s etc, labour ward, but many have their own preference of area - mine is antenatal & labour - nothing against babies (just as well seeing as i had 3!!), but that is how i prefer it. as an HCA, you could rotate yourself, and find out which area's are best for you.

    as an HCA, you work along side mw's as part of the team, and although you will have your own jobs as well, if you show interest, many Mw's will talk you through things, show etc etc.....

    you could pick up a couple of Midwifery journals, tho' some of it could be over your head...

    the other thing would be consider volunteering - the ones we have are worth their weight in gold, but tbh, they are limited in that the only patient contact they have is giving out meals - no answering of buzzers, giving advice or help etc. they are very similar (at least where i am) to housekeepers - ie bed making, tea, meals etc.

    let me know if there is anything else.....!!

  • oh thanks, that sounds ideal actually!
    Yeah i knew there would be more to the job than what i have which is why i would like to get an insite into it first! What qualifications do you need to be a health care assistant? and is it possibly to just be in maternity or is it a general position?
    Thanks hun x
  • no qualifications needed that i know of, just common sense, and DONT say in an interview when asked why you want to do it, say "cos i love babies"!!!
    most hospitals i know of (many round Grtr manchester / Lancs) the position is on the Maternity unit only.
    if you contact your local units HR dept, they should be able to tell you when / if any jobs available.
    another thing i've just though of is that you could also apply for bank work on the mat unit, where they will basically ring you when they are short staffed to see if you can work. it isnt regular pay tho, but you get paid the same (that sound right???!!!)

    i think as you are unsure, you are being really sensible in considering trying for this first!! i hope you find the job, get it (it will be shifts etc - like mw post in that respect), love it and join us Madwives!!
  • good luck vanilla!!

    personally from the childcare, it suits me hands down to do shifts - i can shop at tesco / trafford ctr while the boys are at school, and i only have Issy to worry about. as at the moment she cant say "can i have, can i have, can i have" it really is great!.

    there is the drawback that it isnt always me that puts them to bed, but for 1 or 2 nights a week, i can live with that! i take them to school nearly - if not every day!

    if anyone wants me to ask my boss (who would do interviews) what pointers for HCA, let me know.....
  • Hi!

    I am heather*joshua*matthew in disguise lol

    I am doing the acces course at college and it is fab. you need to do the health pathway and have a c or above in GCSE Maths.

    I have 2 boys aged 2 and 10 months and i admit this is really hard work. especially doing work at home. But i have a good support network for looking after the boys and the college fund the childcare cos our annual income in less that ??20.000.

    I have just sent my UCAS form off for my application for midwifery so just waiting for a response now. I am so nervous about it because it is so so competitive!

    Hope this helps xxx
  • thanx girls sounds great and I think it would be great for me when the boys are a lil older but maybe not right now. Im really keen on doing it so I know it'll be something for my future. Good luck Heather and thanx again for ur advice ladies, much appreciated. xx
  • Vanilla, had a thought this morning, with you saying dont want to go back to your job in march - i know if you leave government run places you have to pay your mat pay back unless you work 3 months after you've returned, so just check with you empolyer before telling them to hike!
  • bumped for kirsty!!

    also, dont i look a dimwit now, vanilla! telling you your job!! duh!!
    sorry, didnt realise that was what you did!!
  • Hello fellow mw's and wana b's lol! Thanks for all the info nicki i know its def want it want to do and hope to do it in stages. I need to do the access course first cos i dont have a-c in english or maths. I am going to phone the college 2moro and get some info on when and how much the course is. I keep putting it off and will never do it unless i get down there and do it! Im really easy to get on with but i find it hard meeting people so will prob take alot of courage to go to the college on an open day ( aswe have to do this and have a chat with somebody before we are accepted on the course).

    hi heather - how long or if you are still doing it did it take you to do the access course and we have in our college and access planning and then the actual access course is this what you did? Are you doing it full time or part time?

    Thanks very much girlies i really appreciate the help x
  • hi you lot

    just had another thought i didnt put in that may be of use.

    unless things have changed since september's intake, you should also get a bursary. i think it may be means tested, but usually if you have kids you get it all i think (unless oh multi-millionaire!!). it is approx ??6k a year. not much, but you dont pay it back, and it isnt taxable (if i remember rightly), so you can do odd jobs and not lose it.

    before you decide to go and buy a new car on the strength of it tho' , please check!!!!
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