Celebrating international day of the midwife with Lynette Armstrong, a midwife based at North Tyneside hospital
To celebrate #IDM2018 on 5 May, Lynette Armstrong, a midwife based at North Tyneside General Hospital, talks about the role she plays and why she does it…
I started my career as a midwife back in 1990. I’d spent two years as a general nurse but couldn’t forget the many lessons an inspiring midwife had taught me during my training. She inspired me with how much she loved her job and to this day I consider her a mentor. On making the switch I haven’t looked back.
Midwifery today is quite different from the profession I joined but the essence of what we do remains the same: provide the best possible care based on a special relationship with our patients. That relationship is vital to what we do and can also have some unexpected joys. For instance, I just helped (for the first time) a woman who I helped deliver have her own child – a very special moment and a memory I will always cherish.
The biggest change is the emphasis that is now placed on ‘wellbeing’ or healthy living. It used to be the case that a midwife was exclusively focused on pregnancy, birth and the immediate aftermath. These are still very important, of course, but now we also have a critical role encouraging new parents to make healthy (lifelong) choices – our current focus is on alternatives to smoking – for the whole family.
The other significant change is around safety and the extra support we offer to both mother and child. Part of it came with the growing awareness of these issues across society but far more was the profession evolving based on the experiences of its practitioners. Today, ensuring a baby is going home to a safe and secure environment is as important as ensuring it comes into the world safely in the first place.
The best part of my job is getting to be there every step of the way. Throughout a woman’s pregnancy to delivery and when mum and baby first go home I get to be part of it – sharing amazing moments and, if necessary, offering reassurance and support. In the NHS we call this ‘continuity of care’ and it essentially means that we aim to have the same midwife support a mum-to-be at every stage – even when she’s gone home.
I am very proud of my job and even more proud of the people I work with. It’s a hugely exciting time to be a midwife as our role continues to evolve and the methods and technology we use become ever more innovative.
Honestly, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.