Lucia Hinksman - Wye Valley NHS - Community Midwife
Why I decided to apply for the ILM level 3 course?
The ILM level 3 course was offered as part of my preceptorship program when I first enrolled at Wye Valley NHS trust as a Midwife. Having just finished my degree, I was very keen to continue my learning, in addition to this, I hoped the course would support my transition from student Midwife to Midwife.
There are a number of personal skills that I have developed whilst undergoing the course;
Core management skills
Understanding how to organise and delegate tasks to members of staff, this has particularly helped with organising the workload and delegating home visits to midwives when I have been given the responsibility to do this for the shift.
Ability to perform management tasks, manage change and innovation
This is the particular skill linked to one assignment of the operational management module. The objective was to develop the skills needed to effectively lead a team in line with organisational strategy and an operational plan. One of the key considerations for Wye Valley NHS trust is to be as cost effective as possible and to actively seek opportunities to reduce expenses.
As a community midwife, I wanted to choose an aspect of care related to my current role. The new change proposed was to introduce a postnatal clinic for women and babies to attend to see the midwife. The aim was to reduce travel expenses for the maternity department and increase productivity for the midwife in terms of being able to fit more contact time with women and babies into the day.
The set up involved frequent meetings with my manager to discuss the rationale for the change, ideas on how to set up the clinic, how to communicate the change to staff and families, and resolving potential problems that may arise.
With my manager’s support on board, the next step was to seek an ideal location, this was an easier process as having worked at a children’s centre I was aware of a suitable day and time slot that the children centre room would be free. I then liaised with the centre manager to book the room for the postnatal clinic.
As part of the communication process I created memos and sent emails to staff to inform them of the clinic, how to discuss this with women at the point of discharge from the maternity ward or during the initial home visit stage and how to book women in.
The clinic was then ready to run in March, agreed by my manager, I was to have a 3 month trial period.
All families who attended to clinic were kindly asked to complete a short questionnaire, this asked families whether they were happy to attend the children’s centre, were there any practical issues that could have potentially prevented them from attending and did they prefer a scheduled appointment as oppose to a home visit.
Following the three month trial, 27 families attended out of a possible 32 appointment slots. Feedback from 20 families was received, the main feedback points were that families were happy to attend at a specific time as this did not mean they needed to stay in all day for the midwife to see them at home, a number of mothers said this was good as it got them out of the house, the children’s centre was pleased with the clinic as they were then able to register new mothers and babies and advertise postnatal classes.
Having produced a detailed analysis for my manager, she was very pleased with how the postnatal clinic had been so positively received by families, management were very happy for the clinic to continue to run.
Although this task did push me out of my comfort zone, it has been amazing to feel that I have become a valued member at the trust who is capable to recognise potential changes, have the confidence to push my views forward and influence practise.
How has it has changed the way I work?
I am more organised and efficient at managing my time which is very important as a community midwife as you are effectively ‘your own boss’ and work autonomously on a day to day basis.
I have also been more confident to apply for certain roles to develop my own learning. I applied to train as a risk perception Midwife, the aim of this role is to talk to those pregnant women who smoke in pregnancy and to provide smoking cessation support to help them give up. Having now been trained for this role, I have been involved in presenting to large audiences at a saving babies lives event. In the audience, were colleagues, doctors, consultants and other guest speakers which was a bit scary! I received very good praise from management about my presentation, particularly addressing my growing confidence.
I have also been a guest speaker at the University of Worcester, I presented a talk about undertaking a management course to all the midwifery students and tutors. The feedback I received from this was very positive, tutors and students were impressed with my achievements as a newly qualified midwife and again, my developing confidence.
I am now interested in applying for management positions in the future which prior to the course was something I had not considered.
I would definitely recommend the course to others, this has not just been an exceptional learning opportunity that has pushed me out of my comfort zone, I have also acquired many communication and leaderships skills that I have applied to everyday tasks and also to personal life situations.
I am currently looking at enrolling onto the level 5 course in the spring which I hope will continue to develop my already acquired leadership and management skills.
You can see more here about our level 5 qualification.