This week, I attended the British Journal of Midwifery's annual conference, which was held in person for the first time since I became editor of the journal. It was an educational and interesting day, and I would like to thank all of our wonderful speakers for giving up their time to present their talks. I know I learnt a lot and it was lovely to have the opportunity to talk to both the speakers and delegates throughout the day.
I enjoyed listening to all of the talks, and especially enjoyed Katherine Letley's presentation on her review of midwives' experiences caring for women who are seeking asylum. Katherine's review was published in BJM last year and highlighted some important themes evident from midwives' experiences, as well as the importance of having the appropriate time and resources to care for women who may need additional support (Letley, 2022).
There is a lot of work that goes into producing a conference, most of which occurs behind the scenes, and is only ever noticed when something goes wrong. But I feel it is important to acknowledge my colleagues whose hard work in organising the day, from finding a venue to setting up remote talks for speakers who were not able to attend in person, made it such a wonderful event.
Having taken over the journal at a time when COVID-19 restrictions were still in effect, the conference was one of several opportunities to meet the journal's readers and authors in person that did not come about until later in my time as editor. As a result, I always appreciate being able to stop and speak with midwives and am always pleased when people take the time to stop and speak to me.
One delegate stopped to thank me for the conference, noting that while she often appreciated the networking element of the conferences that she attended, she felt she was coming away from our event having learnt something as well. I was very pleased to hear this, and I hope all our delegates similarly left the conference feeling that they gained something useful from it.
This year's theme for the International Day of the Midwife is ‘together again: from evidence to reality’, which the Royal College of Midwives (2023) describes as highlighting a ‘time of celebration [that] honours the efforts of midwives and their associations to action critical evidence…towards meaningful change for our profession and the women and families we care for’. This theme resonates strongly with one of the core components of each issue of the BJM: research. I would like to think that the studies that the journal publishes make a positive contribution to the evidence that is being used to transform the reality of midwifery care.
I hope that all of our articles, both international research and studies conducted in the UK are informative and enlightening for our audience, and that we can continue to disseminate key evidence in midwifery for many years to come.