Hi, my name is Rachel.
I am a mother of three ages 11,8,3.
I qualified as a midwife in September 2018 and started work as a caseloading midwife the same month.
There are many reasons I chose to work within this model, one of which was the flexibility it offers, this is achieved because I manage my own diary. I block out sections in my diary for kids assemblies, doctors appointments, eye tests, parents evenings, well lets face it the, list is endless when you have children. This for me has meant I am around more for my children. The women also benefit from the flexibility, I have some women who prefer evening appointments so I tend to work one evening a week, the rest I try and fit around normal working hours, so I probably work more days in the week compared with a normal hospital shift pattern. I remember as a student often having to work four long days in a row, I would put my children to bed Monday night and wouldn’t see them till Saturday morning. This is not uncommon in the hospital based shift pattern. Since starting in September I have missed two bed times.
There are days when it can be more unpredictable. Days will sometimes need to be re-arranged, for example if you’ve been out in the night at a birth, there are also days when you would rather not work but the scan clinic is on or your women can only do specific times and days. I find I can manage this flexibility and sometimes unpredictability way of working with the support of grandparents, friends and a husband that works Monday to Friday 9-5.
Often people struggle to understand how Caseloading works, especially with a family. For me it fits really well within my family life. I think this is due to how I manage my diary, and don’t get me wrong I haven’t fully grasped this yet it’s still a work in progress but I am getting there. I also discussed with my kids that if mummy isn’t around in the morning it’s because a baby’s being born, how can they moan about that.
The most common question asked is ‘when are you on call’ I pretty much reply with ‘all the time’, I have one protected day a week. So I am on call 6 out of 7 days a week, unless I am on annual leave (9 weeks a year). It does take sometime to adjust to having a second phone that could ring at any time, but in reality that just doesn’t happen that often. I have found when my women are due I get a nervous & excited buzz of energy at the thought of being called out to the birth of a family I have built a relationship with. I have had continuity with this family and know everything I need to know about her care without having the frantically search through her antenatal notes before hand. The continuity you achieve in caseloading not only improves outcomes for women, it has improved my job satisfaction, it really hasn’t felt like work yet.
When I’m off my buddy takes my divert, so we work our days off and annual leave between ourselves, we sometimes have to cover each others work. However this isn’t routine work, it’s usually scan cover or visits such as a primary or day 5 that cannot wait. Understanding your buddy’s lifestyle and commitments outside of work supports a good buddy relationship which I think is a crucial part of caseloading.
I have started blogging about my day to day activities to hopefully make more student & qualified midwives aware of how this model of working really does work when you have a family, please follow me if it’s something you would like to learn more about @caseloading_mother_midwife on Facebook and Twitter.
Please join the campaign for continuity of carer for all women, for the benefit not just of the women but for babies, for families and for the midwives too. You can do so by following this campaign on Facebook, sharing the campaign on social media using the hashtag #continuitymatters or you can email your story to share on the blog to firstname.lastname@example.org