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Louise Downie

Award Received: 
Student Award
Attending an RCM- accredited course on perineal suturing for midwives
Year awarded: 

I am extremely grateful to have received an Iolanthe Award, which enabled me to attend an RCM accredited perineal suturing course.

I applied as a 3rd year student before the global pandemic hit, because I felt as a student it wasn’t always the easiest time to gain experience in such an intricate skill. I was acutely aware that qualifying was fast approaching and applied to do this course to give me more confidence in suturing. I flew to Heathrow and attended the course with like-minded midwives from across the UK. The aim of the course was to provide confidence in repairing perineal trauma, enabling us to develop the knowledge and skills required to recognise, assess and repair perineal trauma independently according to the current guidelines.

The course was very interactive – we were told at the beginning that by the end of the course, we would all feel confident in suturing skills.

I did not have a lot of confidence in my skills at the beginning of the course, but true to the trainer’s word, the practice of suturing just ‘clicked’.

It was an interactive course with the morning spent on refreshing our knowledge on the anatomy and physiology of the pelvic floor muscles and discussing the importance of perineal care.

The afternoon session allowed us to put the learning into practice! We were provided with a simulated perineum to practice suturing as many times as possible until we felt confident with the technique. The perineal simulator has an accurate life size anatomy with all the relevant landmarks. The model gives highly realistic feedback during suturing. We went into small groups and had individual trainers with us at each table, assisting us with technique. The trainers were extremely patient and knowledgeable.

I now not only feel more confident in suturing techniques, but furthermore I feel I can more confidently discuss the physical and psychological implications of perineal trauma for women, which is invaluable for a community midwife role. Thank you for awarding me the Iolanthe award, it is very much appreciated.