Saying a big thank you to our amazing midwives

May is the time of year where our nurses and midwives are each given a ‘Day’, where the wider community can celebrate and say thank you for your service and commitment. As part of this we want to share the experiences of some of the midwives and nurses we have worked with, such as midwife Mariam Patel from North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust.

“I first came to the UK aged 16. When I had my first child the midwife was so supportive and really helped me. However I also noticed that there weren’t many midwives from South Asia – like myself – and this inspired me to train as a midwife, to make a difference like my midwife had supported me. It was a real achievement for me, completing my training, especially as I had a young child at that time.”

Since qualifying Mariam has worked as a midwife in a number of different London hospitals, then in 2022 she became a smoking cessation champion midwife. She leads on ensuring better outcomes for mother and babies through a variety of smoking cessation support services. She also develops and carries out training for other healthcare professionals in this area.

“A large proportion of women I work with as a midwife are young and living in more deprived areas. These are two of the main factors affecting rates of smoking in pregnancy and so we see a higher rate than the national average where I work. I wanted to help improve that rate – to provide better awareness raising and support. To really ‘make each contact count’ as the NHS aims for.”

As part of her leadership programme with FNF Mariam carried out a quality improvement project – trialling changes to the monitoring of pregnant people and introducing carbon monoxide screening at each routine antenatal appointment in order to better identify those who smoke – as a first step to being able to better provide support and to improve the health outcome for pregnant people and their baby. This project has already seen success in improving the monitoring rate from 63% to 100% over a year.

“This was a very different role for me, looking at quality improvement, and so my manager suggested I apply for a Florence Nightingale Foundation 6-month leadership programme. For me, my new job and FNF came side by side, I would even say that I wouldn’t be able to do my current role as a midwife as well without it! FNF gave me the tools to put this quality improvement into practice, their programme supported me to learn about behaviour therapy and about public speaking skills. I have since been networking with other organisations to look at new evidence and share learning from my own project.

FNF really ignited my passion for midwifery as well as supporting my career progression. The programme opened my eyes to the bigger picture way of working. The smoking cessation project is not just my goal, but an organisational wide goal – and bigger than that even. The main aim is to improve care and outcomes for the service user – the birthing people and their babies. The NHS is constantly evolving, so as midwives we have to evolve as well. FNF empowered me to excel in my role as a midwife and an emerging leader  – leaders are not born they are made.”

As a charity we rely on supporters and donations. This May we are launching a ‘Say thank-you’ fundraising campaign to help us in our work. The campaign will help us in our year-round work supporting nurses and midwives like Mariam, to improve care and save lives.

Click here to say ‘thank-you’ and donate.