I have always been slightly alternative and am not one to follow the crowd. Being self employed appealed to me because of being able to work as little or as much as I like, allowing for creativity in other areas of my life, and being answerable and accountable to myself and my clients. After being accepted onto a degree course and beginning to train as a midwife I quickly became aware that my ambitions and dreams were not common. The majority of people wanted a stable job within the NHS and did not quite understand why I would want to work differently. I also became aware that the general consensus was to stay in the NHS for a few years to consolidate your practice once you have qualified.
As I approached the end of my course there were not many days where I did not contemplate what I would do once I had qualified. I found working in the NHS satisfying in some ways and challenging in others. I felt that each time I was seeing a small piece of the jigsaw, but never the full picture. I was inspired by the documentary "The Business of Being Born" and fell in love with a midwife working independently in new york. I decided that I wanted to grow to become just like her. I was able to experience case loading as part of the degree course and I was extremely lucky to case load a woman with an Independent midwife.
The experience was soul enriching and I knew I had found my true calling. After much deliberation I knew that, once qualified, this was the way that I would work. It was completely different from midwifery within the hospital setting and most importantly I felt supported in this role and not alone. As an Independent midwife I am regulated the same way as an NHS employee, I have a supervisor of midwives to ensure I am fit to practice and a certain amount of CPD and practice hours that I have to complete to remain on the professional register.
If I had stayed within the NHS i would have been given a preceptor to help me when I needed support for the first 12-18 months but essentially I would have been a midwife working in a very busy setting. As an Independent midwife, building up a small caseload, I have far more time to study and most importantly I have a huge support network of very knowledgeable midwives I can phone any time of day or night for advice and support.
Independent midwives do not work compleetly alone, they support each other, like being in a big midwifery family. I always have a second midwife I can call to attend a birth with me and have benefited greatly from being a second midwife for other people. Since I qualified I have been honoured that women have trusted me with their care during pregnancy and I am looking forward to a busy future.