Midwives provide care and support to women during pregnancy, labour and birth, and to women and their babies following birth. Midwives have a key role in health promotion and education for women, their babies and their wider family circle. They work in partnership with obstetricians and other members of the healthcare team in the provision of care, particularly to women with complicated pregnancies. Midwifery care includes preventative measures, the detection of abnormal conditions, making referrals to doctors and taking emergency action when necessary. They also have an important task in health counselling and education, not only for women but also within the family and the community.
- Diagnosing, monitoring and examining women in pregnancy
- Supervising and assisting women in labour and monitoring the foetus
- Providing antenatal education and preparation for parenthood; this extends to areas of gynaecology, family planning and childcare.
Travel: during the working day for home deliveries, otherwise unlikely. Working hours: regular unsocial hours might include a shift or rota system to cover early mornings, evenings, nights, weekends and bank holidays. Location: mainly in towns or cities throughout the country. Opportunities for self-employment: possible.
Maternity hospitals/units, the newly developed midwife-led units and increasingly through the provision of midwife-led services in the community.
Midwives can compete for promotional posts. Continuing professional education is important for career development. The pathways open to midwives are towards midwifery education, clinical practice management and research.
Salaries will vary depending on employer.
Specific degree subjects required
A Pre-Registration Honours Bachelor of Science (BSc) Degree in Midwifery is essential. Midwifery programmes are also offered at post-registration level to registered nurses in other specialisms.
Alternatively, a nurse who is registered as a general nurse (RGN) with An Bord Altranais may apply for the eighteen-month post-registration programme in midwifery.
Continuing professional development following registration is essential for midwives so they can acquire the knowledge to practise effectively in an ever-changing health care system.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisations’s (INMO) Professional Development Centre (PDC) provides high quality relevant up-to-date programmes for their members.
The National Council for the Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery have developed an online database of courses as a resource for nurses intending to engage in continuing professional development.
Specific entry requirements
Evidence of good health and good character may be required.
Midwifery students normally receive a combination of theoretical and clinical instruction. During this period the student is not a paid employee of the health service. The first clinical placement occurs early in the programme, usually within three months of commencement. A continual 36-week rostered clinical placement (internship) takes place during the fourth year during which the student is a paid employee of the health service.
Tips for applications
First aid training could be an advantage.
Skills and qualities
- Excellent people skills and the ability to relate well to people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds
- Ability to remain calm in difficult situations
- Excellent attention to detail
- Confidence to make decisions and work independently, as well as part of a multidisciplinary team
- Physical fitness and emotional strength
- Empathy, patience and kindness.