04 June 2021

'Midwives are all-singing, all-dancing care givers', International Day of the Midwife 2021

Sarah Evans is a UEA Midwifery graduate and currently works at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. For International Day of the Midwife (5th May) she spoke to the Alumni Office and shared her career highlights, why she chose to study midwifery, and how COVID has impacted the job. 

Midwives are all-singing, all-dancing care givers who manage care throughout pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period to both high and low risk women.

Tell us about how your midwife career has developed since leaving UEA

I finished my degree in 2012 and spent the first 2 years after qualifying in the hospital where I trained. I loved it there, but I wanted to go and see other parts of the country and I’ve been working at Birmingham Women’s Hospital since 2014. I have spent most of my clinical time on the delivery suite and birth centre taking a keen interest in students and education, then in 2018 moved into my current role of Practice placement manager - overseeing pre-registration education in the trust.

Why did you want to study midwifery? And why UEA?

I went into midwifery because I was really interested in the process of pregnancy and birth, and because I wanted the satisfaction of supporting women. I chose UEA because it was local to me and I already loved Norwich. UEA was ranked the second-best university to study midwifery at the time, so it felt like a no brainer.

How has working in a pandemic been for you?

Working in the pandemic has been hard to say the least - from the deaths of beloved friends and colleagues to supporting students. COVID means that there is an extra level of complexity to clinical work - with PPE, swabbing patients and partners and caring for those who are poorly.

Is there a particular moment from your career that stands out?

The highlights of my career include attending the births of powerful women who just leave you in awe of their strength. I remember all the details for a handful of mothers and I still reminisce about them with my colleagues. Additionally, caring for friends and their babies is up there with my proudest achievements - being trusted and allowed into such an important and deeply personal time is such an honour.

Do you have any examples of any colleague’s small acts of heroism?

A friend and colleague of mine worked in intensive care during the second wave of the pandemic. She had no previous nursing experience and had done a direct entry midwifery degree. She jumped at the opportunity, with no hesitation, and was a valued member of the intensive care team, helping to relieve staff pressure and provide the best care to extremely poorly COVID patients.

Do midwives get the praise they deserve?

Midwives are all-singing, all-dancing care givers who manage care throughout pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period to both high and low risk women. Managing that alongside the chronic underfunding of the NHS, increased work pressure, and reduced staffing, I definitely think midwives don’t get the praise they deserve.

Any tips for other midwives or recent midwifery graduates?

My best advice for recent midwifery graduates is to set time aside for yourself and what you love. It’s so important to have an identity outside of work because midwifery can be so hard, and it really benefits your self-esteem.

Sarah Evans studied BSc Midwifery at UEA.