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A university scheme to train midwives is already attracting new blood.
Campbeltown Hospital has welcomed student midwife Grace Sutherland, and her sixth week of the programme was specially exciting as she participated in her first birth.
Grace helped deliver Craig Reid, Denise and Jamie Reid’s third son.
Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) is working in partnership with the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) to help train postgraduate registered nurses in the new shortened midwifery programme.
Grace said: ‘I am very grateful to the Campbeltown maternity team and the family for involving me in such a valuable experience.
‘This was the first birth in which I have participated and it was an amazing event that I will never forget.
‘Without a placement in Argyll and Bute I would never have had such a positive first birth experience.
‘I will forever thank the UHI and Campbeltown Hospital.
The programme has been developed for Highlands and Islands registered nurses who will continue to work in the region at its completion.
The shortened midwifery course, split into 60/40 practice and theory respectively, has been designed and is being given by expert clinical professionals.
All the nurses’ clinical practice placements are being provided in urban, remote and rural island practice areas.
The programme includes flexible learning and combines innovative e-learning technologies.
Wendy Jessiman, the UHI’s lead midwife for education, said: ‘We are delighted midwives in the Community Maternity Units (CMUs) in Argyll and Bute are able to support a number of UHI students.
‘These placements provide our students with opportunities to experience the midwife’s role first hand.
‘They offer a unique perspective in childbearing in remote and rural areas in NHS Highland.’
There are 19 registered nurses completing the 20-month programme.
Six of the student midwives’ first placements are in Argyll and Bute hospitals.
The HSCP are really happy that the initiative enables the registered nurses to train nearer their homes.
‘It will help with the recruitment of midwives to Highlands and Islands posts in the near future.’
HSCP interim lead midwife Catriona Dreghorn said: ‘The new programme is innovative and will significantly improve rural midwifery recruitment in the very near future.
‘Our midwives are really pleased to have welcomed all the students to their placements.
‘HSCP midwives are already involved in training and sharing their transferable skills and knowledge to support and develop the students.’
Midwives have very diverse roles, and are usually the first and main contact for women during their pregnancy.
Midwives provide care to women in maternity units and at home, attend births and cover antenatal and postnatal care until six weeks after birth.
They also work very closely with other health and social care professionals including: doctors, specialist nurses, social workers, health visitors and third sector organisations.
The midwives strive to develop and improve motherhood and paternity services to ensure better outcomes for all their patients and families.
This can include providing up to date health and well-being information and advice, delivering parent education classes and helping prepare women and their families for the arrival of their new baby.