Being awarded the Dora Opoku Midwives Award was such a surprise, I remember reading the e-mail twice in disbelief.
I am an International Recruitment Practice Educator Midwife who finds joy in working towards a more diverse midwifery workforce because a more diverse workforce representative of the local community has been shown to improve healthcare experiences for mothers and babies.
I am passionate and inspired to improve equity and equality in maternity. It is well known that to provide equality of health outcomes to communities, a creation of equality within the NHS workforce is required. Subsequently I formulated a research report and recommendation for the Local Maternity System I work within, and presented this, aiming to optimize staff workplace culture and current services for disadvantaged groups.
The report delved into quantitative and qualitative data from neighbouring hospitals, through a workplace culture survey for black and ethnically minoritized midwives. I noted a lack of midwifery diversity and was able to create a baseline of views in relation to discrimination within the workplace.
I was able to disseminate and share findings at the Midlands Maternity Festival 2023 and through an article published in the MIDIRS Midwifery digest journal.
In conjunction with the primary research, I created a cultural competency training package where maternity workers are able to work towards becoming more culturally competent practitioners, exploring issues such as cultural humility, allyship, bias and how to deconstruct bias, and the importance of reflecting upon our values and attitudes towards race and other protected characteristics.
Feedback from participants has included:
The session opened my eyes to a new way of thinking and made me consider things I hadn’t thought about before.
I am thinking about my own practice and how i can change this to make everyone feel involved.
Together we can change and make a difference for the women we care for. It's more about equity than equality.
It made me feel sad to see the extent of the problem, but more empowered to make a difference.
Recognising our privilege as healthcare professionals, being aware of power imbalances and how this can affect our everyday interactions with our patients, will positively impact inequalities to bring more equity and reduce negative maternal and neonatal inequalities.
By providing training to maternity support workers and Midwives I aim for a more culturally competent workforce in the future that is actively working towards reducing bias and inequalities across healthcare systems.