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.