New members and a new year for the RCM Student Midwife Forum
A newly constituted Student Midwife Forum (SMF) starts their work last week, with some new faces joining existing members, and some leaving after their tenure. The 10 SMF members represent the whole UK, with four representing England and two each from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, each serving for two years or until graduation.
“I had the pleasure of sitting on the SMF for two years. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and had a plethora of opportunities open to me,” said outgoing member Fiona Howard. “I became a published author, I spoke with Parliament to make sure students were financially protected against COVID-19, and I’ve made professional connections and lifelong friends.”
Chief among the SMF’s roles is to be the voice of student midwives in the RCM, putting forward their views and issues, and supporting the RCM. Among its objectives is to discuss issues relevant to student midwives and look at ways to support students. Part of their work is also about making links between university midwifery societies, RCM branches and the RCM.
"I joined the RCM SMF in 2020 and it's been a brilliant experience so far! Being part of a group of student midwives that are strong, passionate, and real activists, is so inspiring. We really exist to amplify the voices of student midwives across the UK and the SMF has really done that for so many this year. We have our own social media channels that we use to listen and share info on the topics student midwives are telling us matter to them. And its great that we have the support to raise and escalate issues with the RCM,” said Alice Allen, a 3rd year Masters student at Edinburgh Napier University and the SMF Representative for Scotland. “As a group we all bring different strengths to the table -but what's struck me most is how we all have the same underpinning values and drive to support others and amplify student midwife voices. I really feel I've gained a handful of midwifery friends for life, we've definitely become a little family. While I'll be sad to say goodbye to the SMF as I graduate at the end of the summer, I can't wait to see what this group of amazing women are going to do next, because I've no doubt they will make waves."
The new SMF came together for their first monthly meeting of the year last week, and to continue their work on behalf of the RCM’s student midwife members. They also virtually met up with the RCM’s regional heads and country directors.
Last year was a busy and active one for Fiona and her colleagues. Along with student-related webinars, members also chaired sessions at the RCM’s annual conference, and were active on the SMF’s social media channels.
They also kept the organisation up-to-date on issues affecting student midwives, and championed student issues within the RCM, and the work that flowed from this, including a Q&A on the student section of the RCM website.
“I am so excited to start my role with the SMF representing the students of Wales, and I’m looking forward to the opportunities it brings and sharing all my ideas!”, said Lucy Richards, a new member of the SMF representing Wales. “Hopefully soon I will be able to meet my SMF colleagues in person, but however we meet, I'll be working hard over the next two years to make sure the student midwife voice is heard.”
As the latest incarnation of the SMF gears up for the year ahead, it’s not goodbye to those leaving. Former members will be invited to be part of an SMF alumni group, keeping those contacts and networks alive as each move into practice.
The next SMF generated and organised event is a webinar on decolonising the curriculum, taking place on 26 January from 7pm to 8.30pm.
“The SMF does an incredible amount of work to support their fellow students, and the wider RCM. They have been instrumental in communicating the student voice to the RCM throughout the pandemic, helping us to keep our ear to the ground on the issues affecting them,” said Vicky Richards, the RCM’s National Officer for Wales and its lead on student issues. “The RCM’s work and resources for students is vastly richer because of their contributions and support. I am really looking forward to the rest of the year and to working with the SMF to continue the great work we are doing together.”
For more information on the SMF visit Student Midwife Forum (rcm.org.uk).
For more information on the RCM’s work and support for student midwives visit Supporting student midwives from day one (rcm.org.uk).
To sign up for the next SMF Webinar on 26 January 2022 ‘Decolonising the Curriculum’ visit SMF webinar - decolonising midwifery education (rcm.org.uk).
Follow the SMF on Twitter @RCM_SMF.
Read a blog from Lucy Richards on the RCM website at The student perspective: making a difference (rcm.org.uk).