International Day Of The Midwife 2022: Bev’s story

Please tell us about yourself

Hello, my name is Bev Hunt, I am a registered nurse and midwife.

I have a grown up daughter called Megan and a poodle, who doesn’t think he’s a dog, called George. I live in Wigan, in the North West of England.

In my down time I enjoy socialising with family and friends, watching a good movie or box set and watching England rugby during the 6 Nations, Autumn Internationals and the Rugby World Cup.

Please tell us about your role at NHS Resolution

I am the Safety and Learning Lead for Mediation. I coordinate the Safety and Learning teams’ participation in mediations and collate the learning from them.

The primary purpose of mediation is to settle disputes. However, we have a duty to explore and extract the clinical learning from incidents that harm people and help to improve safety. It is important to understand improvements made by NHS organisations, to mitigate future risk of reoccurrence to others, so we may share learning more widely across the health system.

There are also significant non-financial benefits of sharing this information with patients and families, to help them understand what happened and why. We also offer apologies for their experience.

Please describe your midwifery background

I commenced my midwifery training in March 1997, qualifying in August 1998. As a registered nurse, I only needed to complete the short 18 month course to be a midwife.

I started working as a midwife at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in October 1998. I worked on the antenatal and postnatal wards and delivery suite, rotating every 6 months to cement my knowledge and gain skills and experience in caring for women through the whole child bearing continuum.

When I had been qualified for four years I was promoted to delivery suite coordinator – a role I fulfilled for 13 years. I thoroughly enjoyed the dynamic pace of the labour ward. Every day was completely different. I recall many experiences vividly – some funny, some just memorable and some very sad, but profound that they changed my clinical practice and have all, in some way, shaped me as the person I am today.

In 2010, I set up the high dependency labour room on the delivery suite. The same year I also reconfigured the internal maternity emergency training programme, introducing simulation training, situational awareness and human factors. I gained much satisfaction teaching colleagues how to manage emergency obstetric situations, such as major post-partum haemorrhage, so that our patients would be safer.

In 2010, 2011 and 2012, along with midwifery, obstetric and anaesthetic colleagues I visited Ghana to share our methods of training obstetric emergencies to local midwives and traditional birth attendants (TBA). The TBAs had no formal medical training – their knowledge of child birth is handed down through families. They attend women in labour who are not able to get to hospitals, often in the middle of the countryside. Here is a picture of me teaching TBAs how to deliver a breech presentation baby, the key message being “hands off the breech”, most TBAs didn’t speak English so our sessions were always very animated.

It was such a humbling experience, we were made very welcome by our Ghanaian colleagues – so much so they made us dresses in 2011!

What inspired you to become a midwife?

I am not really sure what inspired me to be a midwife. I never had a longing as a child to be a midwife, but I did want to be a nurse.

After being a registered nurse for two years, I saw an advert calling for nurses to undertake midwifery training on a trust weekly bulletin. I researched the role of the midwife and it sparked something that I still have today – an enthusiasm which is difficult to describe.

My daily inspiration as a practicing midwife was always my belief it is a privilege to care for women during and after pregnancy. They will always take away some life-long memory of you and what you did for them. It is the most magical time for families, welcoming a new life. The feeling of delivering a baby, being the first human contact with it and hearing that first cry is very special – so much so as I write this I have goose bumps from head to toe!

My favourite times included seeing dads overcome with emotion, I can honestly say I have lost count of the times I have fought back my own tears of joy for them. It is truly amazing being a practicing midwife.

There are of course times when the outcome for some families isn’t so joyous and this is where our care, compassion and empathy are vital for these parents and their wider families. I am equally as proud of the care I have given to these people and I truly hope they feel that the care I gave them helped in some small way.

Why is it so important to have colleagues working with a clinical background at NHS Resolution?

NHS Resolution’s primary purpose is to settle claims, the majority of these claims are clinical negligence claims. It is useful for us to remember the health service is delivered by humans, where there are humans there will be a degree of mistakes made and we will never get away from that. However, when things go wrong it is important for the NHS, as a whole, to have an ongoing commitment and culture to improve and avoid causing unnecessary harm. This is where our Safety and Learning Team fit in to the picture. I believe the right people to support our members (trusts) and beneficiaries (GPs) from learning clinical lessons are clinicians.

Our team has a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience ranging from midwifery, nursing (in primary and secondary care), physiotherapy, podiatry to doctors. Between all the clinicians in the Safety and Learning team there is usually someone who can offer advice or solutions to queries – we are truly blessed to work together, with our shared aim to improve the safety for people accessing or working within healthcare services.

Why do you think your midwifery experience brings value to your role at NHS Resolution?

As the lead for mediation, I have participated in a number of mediations to settle maternity claims. I always introduce myself as a Registered Midwife and explain my role to help learn and improve patient safety. Having cared for many women in various clinical situations I am comfortable having open and honest conversations with them, offering meaningful apologies and sharing ongoing local, regional and national improvement strategies. I believe my experience enriches my role and talking to families at mediation has proved to be beneficial to them from a non-pecuniary and personal perspective.

I also support the Early Notification team undertaking clinical reviews of maternity cases and assessing care. I would not be able to do this without my clinical background as a midwife.


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