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Coaching and mentoring skills: a complement to the professional midwifery advocate role

02 May 2022
15 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 5

Abstract

Workload pressures within midwifery have magnified because of the global pandemic, causing anxiety and stress for healthcare professionals across all settings. The prediction of the retirement time bomb, combined with midwives leaving the profession as a result of burnout, is having a considerable impact on maternity service provision. There is additional recognition of stress factors caused by the changing landscape within maternity services, one of which has been identified as the national implementation of the continuity of care model. The support framework for midwives and student midwives and the continuous improvement process that the advocating for education and quality improvement model is designed to achieve is needed now more than ever in what have become known as unprecedented times. The author is passionate regarding support for student midwives and prior to lockdown, commenced a postgraduate course in coaching and mentoring. The rationale for undertaking this qualification was to enhance professional midwifery advocate skills further. This proved to be beneficial to the development of the professional midwifery advocate services.

It has been 5 years since the removal of the statutory supervision of midwives and over 4 years since the rollout of the employer-led model ‘advocating for education and quality improvement’ (A-EQUIP) (NHS England, 2017a). However, there is still a paucity of evidence recognising the national success or areas for development in relation to the employer-led model, or if the role of the professional midwifery advocate as a quality improvement process and a supportive framework for the midwife and student midwife is effective. A rationale for this lies behind the intensity of managing maternity services during a global pandemic, with time allocation to measure its effectiveness not being accessible (Jardine et al, 2020).

Workload pressures within midwifery have been magnified as a result of the global pandemic, causing anxiety and stress for all healthcare professionals across all settings (Cole et al, 2020). The prediction of the retirement bomb, combined with midwives leaving the profession because of burnout, is having a considerable impact on maternity service provision (Power, 2016). There is additional recognition of stress factors caused by the changing landscape within maternity service provision. One such factor has been identified as the ongoing national implementation of the continuity of care model (NHS England, 2017b).

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