Bridget’s story – International Day of the Midwife 2024

To mark International Day of the Midwife we are delighted to celebrate and hear from some of our talented midwives who work in our Safety and Learning team. Bridget Dack, our Maternity Incentive Scheme Clinical Lead, talks about her inspirations, experiences and using her expertise in NHS Resolution.

I am incredibly proud to be a midwife, and I am just as passionate about improving services and care for women and families as I was when I first stepped onto a Labour Ward in my new uniform over 25 years ago.

I started my midwifery journey after having two children of my own. Perhaps a slightly chaotic start, as my first day at university coincided with my husband’s first day at university training to be a primary school teacher, and my children’s first day at school! They were certainly an interesting few years, but I have never once looked back on that decision.

Throughout my career I have had the privilege of supporting many families on their pregnancy and birth journey, and that has never stopped being amazing to me – There can be no other job that brings such joy along with such challenges.

I have been lucky enough to work alongside some of the most hardworking and dedicated professionals you could ever meet along the way. It takes a whole team to deliver excellent care, and I have worked with the very best. Even through the toughest of times they have always gone over and above – Doctors, ward clerks, ODPs, sonographers, MCAs, cleaners, nurses and of course midwives, all working together towards the same goal. Teams like that honestly feel like family.

I am a huge advocate for life-long learning, and always jumped at any opportunity to develop my skills. I qualified as a Supervisor of Midwives and a Midwifery Ventouse Practitioner, and I worked towards an Advanced Practice MSc. Midwifery offers so much variation in how you can develop, which is fantastic if you are an enthusiastic learner.

After many years working as a Labour Ward Coordinator in a brilliant and busy unit, I knew I was ready for the next step. I knew I wanted to work towards a move into a more strategic role, and be involved in work to improve maternity safety and women’s healthcare on a wider scale. Very aware of the pressures of working in the NHS I also wanted to do what I could to promote the importance of supporting teams and improve the experience of working within maternity services.

I completed my Quality, Service Improvement and Redesign (QSIR) practitioner training which was a fantastic place to start my quality improvement journey. I enjoyed this so much, I went on to become accredited as an associate member of the QSIR teaching faculty.

I also completed the ‘Making Data Count’ training programme, which I still talk about a lot – It’s fantastic for exploring ways to share and interpret data to best effect. It really enhances your skills communicating important information to Boards, which is so crucial to ensure they understand what’s happening in your service, and can see the ‘signals amongst the noise’.

Working in midwifery allows you to develop a wide range of transferable skills and knowledge, which can open up a lot of opportunities for your future career if you choose to explore them.

After working in a quality assurance and governance role in my Trust supporting the delivery of the Maternity Incentive Scheme and Ockenden requirements, I took what felt like a very brave decision at the time to step away from my fantastic Trust and take on the challenge of a new job at NHS Resolution as the Maternity Incentive Scheme Clinical Lead.

The Maternity Incentive Scheme is an extension of the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts – In simplified terms, it’s like an insurance package. If a Trust is able to demonstrate that they have made a number of predetermined maternity safety improvements, they will receive some of their ‘insurance payment’ back to re-invest in their services.

I am now lucky enough to be in a position where I work closely with a number of key organisations and individuals across the national perinatal landscape to develop the programme each year, and I work with Trusts and regions to ensure they understand what is required and offer them support.

It’s so important to ensure that a range of current clinical views are incorporated into developing the scheme, so my clinical background has been crucial to this process. I try and represent the voices of Trusts and clinicians in the process. We are also working hard to ensure the voices of women and families are better represented.

I continue to work clinically when I can to ensure I don’t lose touch with the reality of clinical practice and working with women and families. I am keen to raise the profile of the scheme and highlight some of the brilliant work that is going on around the country to improve maternity safety. It is my belief that every Trust has work they can be rightly be proud of, and we can help them share the learning for improvement across the system.

Working at NHS Resolution has really opened up some amazing opportunities for me for which I am very grateful. Most recently I was supported to apply for a Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholarship, for which I am thrilled to say that I was selected for.

If I had my time again, I would absolutely follow the same path. Working in midwifery has been a huge privilege, and an incredible adventure.

If you are always looking for the next challenge, it’s definitely a fantastic career.

Always go a little further into the water that you feel you are capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth, and when you don’t feel like your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.

David Bowie

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