Are you ready for a career as a midwife?
Thinking about becoming a midwife? Find out what steps you need to take.
Perhaps you are someone who has raised a family and now has the time and energy to return to work. This time, however, you want to embark on a new career – you want to become a midwife. Although this is not a typical, run-of-the-mill job, it will give you a sense of joy and satisfaction as you help bring new lives into the world.
So, what steps will you need to take? What about qualifications and skills? This article will guide you through the process of becoming a midwife.
What academic qualifications are required?
As the role involves providing specialist care to a mother and child, midwives, like nurses, need solid academic credentials. Accordingly, you may have to return to education. Here’s what qualifications are required.
In order to be accepted by a UK university, you must meet the following criteria:
- 5 GCSEs (C grades) in three subjects – English, maths and science
- Some universities may require 6 Cs if you study other subjects
- If you are an Access course or alternative route student, you can still apply, but you will need to confirm your eligibility. For instance, one particular university requires Access students to have at least 45 level-3 credits with a minimum of 30 distinctions.
Before the course leaders accept your application, they will want to establish that you understand what is involved in becoming a midwife. You will also need to pass the following:
- Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
- Numeracy and literacy tests (set by the university)
- Occupational health checks
- Situational judgement tests
If English is your second language, you must have at least an overall IELTS score of 7.0 to qualify.
Each course you take includes a UCAS profile that outlines the university’s expectations. You can also check their website if you need any additional information.
How can you prepare yourself for the role?
Deep down, you need to be absolutely certain that midwifery is the career for you. Do you have any experience of working in a hospital? If not, you may wish to consider approaching your local hospitals to see whether you can spend some time on their midwifery department.
Besides hospitals, nursing homes and community outreach centres are also good places to visit. The important thing is to obtain some experience of working with mothers and families. As a mother, you will naturally have some insight into childbirth. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to find out what other mothers think about the process.
Hospital visits are good, but volunteering is even better as it demonstrates your willingness to help and showcases how good you are with other people. If you cannot find a volunteering position in a hospital, you should check out the local breastfeeding and parent groups. The experiences you can gain will prove extremely useful in your chosen career as a midwife.
Independent midwives or doulas may also be glad of your assistance. If you are lucky, you may even get to witness or help with a home birth!
How to prepare your CV
Once you have obtained the necessary academic qualifications and experience, you are now ready to apply for a midwife position. First, you must make sure that your CV is accurate and up to date. According to this article a CV is essential as it outlines your education, skills, experience and other relevant credentials.
Remember, you will not be the only person applying for the vacancy. If your CV looks amateurish or provides just the bare minimum, potential employers will probably discard it straight away. It is vitally important that the CV contains your correct contact details.
- Left-justify your name (if you wish, make it slightly larger than the rest of the text)
- Type your address, contact number and email address on the right-hand side
As mentioned earlier, you need to present a professional CV. For this reason, it is imperative that you use an appropriate email address with your first and last names as the ‘handle’.
You should pay careful attention when completing the main CV sections:
- Education – Start with your midwifery studies and then work back to your A-levels. You can skip your GCSE grades, especially if you want to present a lean CV.
- Job history – As with the Education section, set out your work experience in reverse chronological order. Include the location, previous employer, job title, start and end dates, and job summary.
- Professional skills – You should take extra care when completing this section and remember to include both soft and hard skills. Experts recommend using a bullet-point format.
- References – You don’t have to complete this section unless it is specifically required. Employers usually only ask for references once they have decided to call you for an interview.
Prepare for the interview
Before your actual interview, it is a good idea to visit your potential place of work. If possible, reach out and talk to the Ward Manager or the person responsible. This will give you an insight into the organisation’s work culture. When it comes to the interview, the questions will generally cover the following topics:
- Recent government policies or current events involving midwifery – keep yourself up to date and be prepared to offer your opinion
- Your insights regarding everyday midwifery tasks
- Your response to real-life scenarios – what would you do when unforeseen events arise, such as birthing complications?
What are your career prospects as a midwife?
You could choose to specialise in a particular area, such as home births. In addition, as you gather more experience and knowledge, you could become a consultant or manager. If you would prefer to concentrate on education, you could decide to become a researcher, lecturer or trainer.
Two tips for returning to work
Getting a job as a midwife isn’t the hard part; it’s how you balance your work and home life, especially if you still have small children.
1) Find the most suitable childcare for your children
It is advisable to find childcare before you start your new job as a midwife as this will give your children time to get used to the routine. You will also need to explain the new arrangements to them.
2) Balance your personal, family and work needs
You will of course be excited about your new career as a midwife and will want to make a good impression. For example, you may occasionally offer to work late. However, this may have a negative impact on your work-life balance so you need to set boundaries and adhere to them as much as possible.
However, what if you need to stay late for activities such as meetings? You could propose rescheduling or perhaps suggest a virtual meeting. There are numerous online options that will enable you to meet with colleagues regardless of the time or location.
Is a new career as a midwife right for you?
Pursuing a new career as a midwife is both challenging and exciting at the same time. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may have to return to education to obtain the necessary academic qualifications. Relevant experience is also a necessity as midwives fulfil a critical healthcare role.
Once you have applied for a position, make sure you present a professional CV complete with all the requisite information. In addition, you should keep yourself up to date with all the latest news and developments in the field of midwifery. Finally, once you have landed your dream role, make sure you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Photo by 东旭 王