Midwives are nurses who specialise in the care of maternity patients and the delivery of babies. They work as part of a team of professional and medical staff that includes doctors. They carry out screening tests, take patient samples, pulses, temperatures and blood pressures. They stay with patients during labour to reassure them, monitor them, assist them and administer medication.
Midwives also work closely with obstetricians and in the case of a complication or a high-risk pregnancy, the doctor will be able to step in. Other tasks are writing records, assessing care requirements or writing care plans, and training student midwives.
To become a midwife, you must achieve a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and Midwifery. On successful completion of this qualification, you are eligible for registration with the relevant statutory body - currently the South African Nursing Council. Successful registration will license nurses to practise as a Professional Nurse and Midwife.
For further studies, you may enroll for an Advanced Diploma in Midwifery. The primary purpose of the qualification is to produce competent, independent and critical thinking midwives who, with the understanding of theories, methodologies and practices in midwifery, will provide scientific, safe and comprehensive quality midwifery care to individuals, families and communities within the legal and ethical framework.
Tshwane University of Technology
BNursing - Bachelor of Nursing
University of Johannesburg
BNursing - Bachelor of Nursing
University of Fort Hare
BCur - Bachelor of Nursing
Why did you choose to be a midwife?
After school I went to do nursing training. During the course we did six months of midwifery. I loved it and went straight on to specialising in midwifery after completing my nursing training.
What training did you undergo and where?
I did a Diploma in Nursing (Psychiatry, Community Health and Midwifery) at Carinus Nursing College and a BSc in Midwifery Studies in the UK.
Describe a typical day
Every day is different: seeing pregnant women for routine pregnancy care, providing labour and birth care, teaching antenatal classes, doing home postnatal visits to support new families, doing admin. I like the fact that I am not working long shifts in a hospital. Because I work in a team, we take it in turns to be on call overnight for our clients, so I’m at home with my family most afternoons and evenings.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I can make a big difference to a new family’s beginning. A positive birth experience has a major impact on the mother and her baby and her partner. It is especially rewarding when families come back to you for their next births.
What don’t you like?
Being called out at night to go to a birth! Sometimes I work through the night; it’s difficult to fully catch up on sleep during the day. It can be stressful; it’s a big responsibility.
Any hurdles you’ve had to overcome?
Learning to run a business – not something I was taught.
What’s been the highlight?
I’ve been interviewed twice on the Expresso Morning Show. That was fun! Being part of the Birth Options Midwifery Team (since January 2016) has definitely been a highlight.
What are your future goals?
I’d like to do a Master’s in Midwifery. I’m thinking about going into midwifery education.
Experience vs formal training?
You need lots of hospital labour ward experience before setting up your own private practice.
Is there a type of personality best suited to this work?
You need to be non-judgemental, calm, assertive, open-minded, and always ready to learn.
Any advice for someone starting out?
Choose where you train carefully, and work in the government maternity service for at least five years – that is where you will gain invaluable experience. Do the advanced midwifery course. This will give you a much deeper understanding, and will make it easier to get jobs and with registering to practice in other countries.
Describe your job in three words
Safe. Supportive. Evidence-based
Interview date: May 2019