Pathway and Foundation Programmes
Midwifery refers to the care and services provided by midwives, the medical professionals who support women and their families during pregnancy, birth and recovery, ensuring that both mother and baby are healthy. A midwife will perform check-ups, provide education and advice, birth assistance, and guidance for new parents. The midwife is an integral part of a pregnancy and birth, helping expectant families prepare for and cope with their new arrival(s).
An undergraduate degree in midwifery will cover the basic midwifery sciences, basic health skills, midwifery care, ethics and law, as well as other additional modules that will aid your professional development. Your modules will focus on both midwifery practice and theory, making sure that you have adequate clinical skills to enter the workplace.
Your degree will be delivered in a mixture of modes. These will include lectures and seminars, as well as practical sessions. There may also be the opportunity to participate in a clinical placement, allowing you to develop and improve your practical skills. There will be a heavy focus on clinical practice throughout your degree, making sure that you are fully equipped for employment.
Depending on the midwifery course you choose, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. This specialisation may influence the area you choose to work in after you have completed your degree. Common specialisations include:
Most midwifery degrees will have a practical element, which will be an important criteria for your graduation. This placement will be an opportunity for you to experience working as a midwife, and perhaps decide on a certain area that you would like to work in.
The accreditation of your degree will depend on where you choose to study, specifically in which country. Because countries have their own accreditation systems, it is possible that you would be awarded different degree titles in each country. Normally, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Midwifery (BM) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc). There are also many postgraduate courses available, which tend to be focused on the professional development of registered midwives.
As well as gaining your degree, you need to be a registered midwife in order to work within healthcare. In the UK, your course should either be accredited by, or meet the standards of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). This could be different in other countries, so you should check with your institution for more details.
Typically, you can expect a degree in midwifery to take three to four years for full-time study. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years, when studied full-time.
On successful completion of your degree,you can choose to either seek employment in your chosen area, or further your studies. Continuation of your studies could take the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a masters or PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate.
The most common destination for midwifery graduates is the healthcare system, working as a midwife. You could be based in many different settings, including clinics, hospitals, birthing centres or at the patient’s home.
Whilst the most popular career choice post-graduation is a practising midwife, it is not the only one. An education in healthcare can lead to a variety of employment opportunities. You can work in the administration side of healthcare, as well as becoming an educator for both midwives and expectant families, you might choose to implement birthing classes, or work within a family planning clinic. Your wide range of transferable skills will mean that there are many options available to you.
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