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Learning by listening to women: A supervisor of midwives' initiative

02 July 2017
Volume 25 · Issue 7


Supervisors of Midwives (SoMs) at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust (LGT) found immense value in actively listening to women about their preferences for birth and their experiences of the maternity service. This was enhanced and facilitated through the provision of a ‘SoM clinic’ (now known as the ‘Listening Clinic’ after this year's conversion of the SoM role to Professional Midwifery Advocate (PMA)), which was evaluated highly by women, well used by staff and a contributor to learning and development within the service. The organisation of the clinic will be described along with examples of feedback received from women. Consideration is given to how this can be incorporated into the service in line with the vision of Better Births (NHS England, 2016a) and developed within the new Advocating for Education and Quality Improvement (A-EQUIP) model of supervision. Quotes from women seen in the clinic have been included from personal correspondence and from an anonymous SurveyMonkey survey carried out in 2016.

In October 2013, two supervisors of midwives (SoMs) teams merged with the formation of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust (LGT)—a total of 21 SoMs. Soon after, a ‘SoM clinic’ was created as a team initiative to facilitate one-to-one meetings between SoMs and women to discuss preferences for birth, to debrief about a previous birth, or both. Such meetings complemented standard midwifery practice, making sure the needs of women and their babies were the primary focus, and that midwives were working in partnership with women (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2012) to create opportunities for them to engage actively with maternity services (NMC, 2008).

The meetings ensured that the midwives were fulfilling their role in advising and supporting women who use midwifery services; advocating for the right of all women to make informed choices, and providing additional advice to women who are experiencing difficulty in achieving care choices (NMC, 2008).

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