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Archive for April, 2010

Childlike

I’m not a person who enjoys conflict but equally I would rather address a problem than ignore it, until now. When all the rumours about me being moved to work back in on the unit my first inclination was to contact my manager and get the full story, fortunately she didn’t answer her phone and yes, it was ‘fortunately’, as it gave me time to rethink my strategy. I came up with a plan of action which required that I was not in formal consultation until a week ago, timing was all important with regard to when I resigned, which I would do if I was to be moved. So, instead of fronting up to my manager I put my blinkers on, kept my head down, and ignored all the rumours. You know how a child will believe that if they can’t see you, then you can’t see them, well that was me, no tantrums just hands over eyes.

I’m still carrying on with my new policy, and it seems that it may have paid off as my team leader contacted me on Friday to say that I am not being moved. I’m not going to count my chickens yet as I am now firmly of the opinion that you can’t trust a word that managers say to you, but as far as I’m concerned every week that goes by, which sees me still in my role as a community midwife, is a bonus and allowing me to get nearer to the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Purple thoughts

Just waiting for the morning sun, yes sun, to dry off the dew from the grass and then I shall be out there giving the lawn (grass, moss and weeds) the first cut of the year.

Meanwhile, back in the weird and wonderful 13th dimension which are the maternity services, a strange calm has descended. So far my manager has not approached me directly about the plans to rip me from my natural habitat. Many others have told me that I am a) to be co-ordinator on labour ward; b) sister on postnatal ward; c) a stand alone midwife on the stand alone birth unit but there is nothing from anyone in authority. Two of the message bearers were apparently told to discuss options with me but, until I have been in conclave with a body in a senior position, I am of the opinion that the consultation has not commenced so that gives me 3 months to consider my next move.

The election. This has given me a wonderful platform to air my concerns about local maternity services. Representatives of the political parties are knocking, innocently, at my door canvassing for my vote. In times gone past I would politely rebuff them, not now though, I have a captive audience. Last night Hubby answered the door and was in the process of saying goodbye to a rosette wearing bod when a tubby little madwoman invited the caller in for a chat. Huge satisfaction and enjoyment, being able to sit one of our local officials down and enlighten him about the troubles within the maternity services, not just locally but nationwide. I know that it won’t make a jot of difference, Hubby’s expression was ‘pi**ing in the wind’, but at least I can express my concerns to someone who may pass them on, even if it is only to warn others about the mad woman!

Years ago my sister told me about a poem concerning a lady of advancing years, Warning by Jenny Joseph. We joked that we would become the person described in the poem and that I was already on the way there as I do ‘ hoard pens….. and  things in boxes’. Well, last weekend, Easter Sunday in fact, was my birthday. I decided that this was my most important birthday…ever. I was now of an age when I could retire and I had achieved this at Easter (symbolism) so I was of a mind to celebrate. The first step toward my ‘rebirth’ was managed by one of my daughters, hair colour, she chose violet, it is really more purple, but it is vivid and it is different. Then my offspring took me to Crazy Bear to educate me in how other, less ordinary people, spend their leisure time. Thankfully they had been there before so were not a fazed as I was by the decor, with which I co-ordinated well, and the cleverly concealed toilets. Sunday saw a surprise meal, children, grandchildren, sister and best friend, fabulous and special. Deviation, back to ‘Warning’. I think I am slowly slipping into the persona, especially with my new found diversion of engaging political cold-callers. As the poem advises-

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

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Yes, it’s true, I’m actively searching for a job. It would be excellent if it were midwifery related but, having applied for 2 and not even being short-listed, I’m becoming far less conservative in the roles that I could be lured to apply for. The posts I coveted were non-clinical, research and teaching, but the persons shortlisting were obvious totally unaware what an amazing resource I would be and never even gave me the opportunity to plead in person, their loss. No it wasn’t, it was my loss, I desired those jobs and not just for the change of emphasis but as the escape route they would provide from the hell which is NHS midwifery. Okay, so this sounds incredibly melodramatic, ‘hell’, personal hell is a more accurate description, but that is precisely how I currently view my professional life. I am so, so sad to feel like this as just a few years ago I was known to declare that ‘if I won the lottery I wouldn’t give up work as I loved my job so much’. There has been a complete turn around in my attitude,  I recently informed my manager that I would never have believed that the last few years of my working life would be the unhappiest.

What’s the problem? Just about everything I suppose. My joy in my job came from the relationship I formed with the women and their families and the continuity of care I was able to provide. I never wanted to be a hospital midwife and never yearned for the buzz of high-risk cases, I guess that I’m just old-fashioned. Community midwifery is changing, huge reorganisation of the service is underway, home births are in, home visits are out. Experienced, senior midwives within the community are not required, experience for junior midwives within the community is required (it’s also cheaper).

I’m not alone in my disillusion with midwifery. I looked around at all the midwives I trained with and started my professional life with and realised that I am the only one how is still practising as a midwife. Midwives are leaving the profession at a massive rate but this is not just a local phenomenom, it is more widespread and, in some areas, huge. Midwifery is changing, the government has made promises about maternity care without regard as to how they will be funded,  especially at a time when drastic savings are being called for and resources are subject to cutbacks. Managers are attending meetings at an amazing rate, firing off emails to staff inviting them to one-to-ones and then making knee-jerk decisions which astound those on the coal-face, astound and demotivate.

I’m finding my working life excessively stressful, I hate feeling that events are beyond my control and that decisions which directly affect me are being made with absolutely no consultation. Last week several colleagues contacted me with information about dramatic changes which are being planned, changes which will impact directly on them and me. I am receiving titbits which imply that where I work will be changed and that I will no longer be a community midwife but will become the midwife-in-charge on labour ward however no manager has contacted me about these changes. I am in turmoil, cannot sleep, am exhausted with musing upon the upheaval which seems imminent and have an intense desire to just throw in the towel. I’ve tried to speak with my manager, left messages but have not received any response, I am in limbo and looking for a way out.

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