‘Please mind the gap’
Midwifery manager, Hannah Horne, explores the perceived gap between leadership and frontline staff when implementing continuity of care
As I sat on a busy tube shuttling across London on my way to a regional meeting, I used the time to reflect upon my career. I had spent all my life aspiring to be a clinical midwife, guiding women through the most extraordinary time of their lives; mopping brows and holding hands. I became a midwife to make a difference, to ensure that women had the best birthing experience ever. Now as a midwifery manager however, had I lost all my clinical links? Was I so far detached from clinical midwifery that I had no idea what was going on? As the tube pulled into the station, I heard the speakers blare out, ‘Please mind the gap’. These words resonated with me and I was transported back to the last couple of deliveries I had been involved with.
I was called in the early hours of the morning and asked to attend a home birth. I had offered to do an on-call to help the community midwifery staff as there was sickness in the team. As the midwife gave me the details of the woman, I immediately recognised the name and address. I walked into the candle-lit living room with gentle music playing in the background and saw the labouring woman, who looked up at me from the birth pool. Our eyes locked onto each other and I could sense that we both instantly relaxed—I knew her and she knew me. What are the chances of this? I had met this lady about 9 years earlier when I had booked her first pregnancy. This beautiful, strong woman puffed and panted through her labour, not breaking her concentration. I know that because she knew and trusted me, she could completely relax in my close presence. As the labour raced on and she began to push, her husband joined her in the pool. Soon after, her baby was delivered into my waiting hands. The three of us, with our heads almost touching, cried together as we discovered the sex.
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