Changing career to become a Midwife – could it work?


When considering a career move into midwifery, perhaps after years in a completely different employment sector, there can be a lot of concerns running through your head!

Below we have addressed some of the most commonly asked questions in relation to this, which will hopefully set your mind at ease a little.

Will my past experience be enough to get me on the course?

The university you are applying to will want a candidate who is hard working, professional and honest.

A positive attitude to diversity is also important.

You will be working closely with members of the public in today’s varied and multicultural community, at an emotional and vulnerable time for them. Good communication and teamwork skills, an awareness of risk and the ability to remain calm under stress are characteristics that are very highly regarded.

The good news is you have probably had experience in both your past employment and personal life that can prove you already possess these skills!

It’s simply a matter of being able to communicate this effectively to the university, both in your personal statement and in an interview situation.

Our midwife e-learning course and our NEW eBook can really give you a helping hand here – we go through the application process step by step as this can be daunting for candidates (especially if it’s the first time they have applied!).

Do I need to have a certain level of health or fitness?

Fitness equipment - trainers and hand weights

In both your placements and future employment as a midwife you will spend a lot of time on your feet and on the move. The job will also involve movement and bending, and assistance with handling and lifting patients as required.

As long as you are reasonably fit and active you should be fine, it’s in your own interest too to try to maintain a good level of fitness as this will make coping with the job a little easier, as well as making you healthier and happier!

If you have any concerns about pre-existing medical conditions we would encourage you to contact your chosen university and speak with them for further guidance.

Will I cope with the working hours?

Close up of alarm clock

The role of a midwife brings with it the potential for working long and unsociable hours, and covering holiday periods such as Christmas. You may also be asked at short notice to fill in to cover sickness or emergencies.

Many applicants will already be familiar with this type of shift work from previous employment – more and more businesses in the UK are extending their opening hours.

If you’re worried about this then a good idea might be to try volunteer work or work experience in a care setting with similar shift patterns, to get a feel for how you might cope.

Will I cope the university training?

Your fellow students will vary in age and background and may come from all walks of life! There’s absolutely no reason why you should find the training any more difficult than they do.

You’ll find that you get close to your classmates during the course, and will be there to help and support each other through the ups and downs of student life.

If you are worried about a return to education many further education institutions offer access or return to study courses.

Often there are funding options for these too, and you can study in a flexible manner either part-time or by distance learning.

Can I afford to retrain as a midwife?

New UK pound coins

In 2017 new changes were rolled in which meant the end of the bursary for student midwives. Applicants are now eligible to apply for a means tested student loan.

This isn’t necessarily bad news however – in fact under the new changes you could actually receive up to 25% more towards living expenses.

If this is your first foray into higher education your fees will be covered as part of the loan.

Students applying for midwifery as a second degree will also be eligible to have their fees paid, which is not the case with most other areas of study.

Our article breaks down the new student loan in more detail – but financially speaking this is an excellent time to retrain as a midwife!

Final thoughts…

If this is a career you feel appeals to you, then you really have nothing to lose!

You may find that you breeze through the training and find yourself on a new, exciting and rewarding career path.

We’re here to help you through every step of the process. If you have any questions, big or small about any aspect of becoming a midwife, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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Emily Seddon

Emily is a midwife with many years of experience. She is passionate about supporting midwives of the future. As a clinical mentor, student link and being on university interview panels, she knows what it takes to get a place!

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