First midwives graduate from Highlands and Islands’ pilot course

Sixteen nurses have become the first cohort to graduate from an innovative midwifery pilot programme.

Saturday, 12th September 2020, 7:30 am
The first 16 nurses have graduated from the University of Highlands and Islands’ innovative midwifery programme.

The University of the Highlands and Islands’ shortened midwifery programme was launched in January 2019 to help meet the needs of communities across the north of Scotland.

The postgraduate diploma, developed in partnership with NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles, NHS Orkney and NHS Shetland, was designed to enable registered nurses to become fully qualified midwives in 20 months.

The first cohort of students finished their studies at the end of August and the final cohort will complete the course next summer.

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The students learned through a combination of face-to-face classes at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness, online study via the university’s virtual learning environment, and placements with NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles, NHS Orkney and NHS Grampian, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Lothian and NHS Fife, in urban, remote and rural island-practice areas.

They also assisted during the coronavirus pandemic by starting their final placements early to support the NHS workforce.

Caitlin Murray (28) is one of the students who completed the course.

She said: “The last 20 months have been a rollercoaster of a journey which has seen me in five different health boards for placement.

“I believe this insight into midwifery care in different areas of Scotland will put me and my classmates at huge advantage moving into our career as we have learnt to adapt to various ways of working and picking up on valuable skills.”

Wendy Jessiman, the university’s Lead Midwife for Education, said: “As the only shortened programme in Scotland, we are delighted that all students finishing the programme will be employed in NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles and NHS Orkney.

“The variety of placements and support from the boards and midwives across Scotland has prepared students to provide excellent midwifery care in remote, rural, urban and island contexts.

“We wish them all well in their midwifery careers.”

The university’s department of nursing and midwifery celebrated the students’ final day with a special virtual event.

The event included farewell songs by Joanne Murray-Stewart, an award-winning Gaelic singer and midwife, who also sang on the first day of the course in January 2019.