UWE Bristol student shortlisted for national midwifery award

Issue date: 02 January 2014


UWE Bristol Student Midwife Melanie Phelps

A UWE Bristol student has been shortlisted for one of the UK's top maternity prizes ahead of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Awards.

Melanie Phelps hopes to visit the busy Bumi Sehat, a non-profit rural birthing centre, in Indonesia which promotes health education and gentle birthing using traditional and modern midwifery practices. Many women at risk of post-partum haemorrhage and pre eclampsia use the centre.

The winners of the Pampers Student Travel Award will be announced at a ceremony held at The Brewery, London, on January 22 and will be presented by broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky.

The victor will receive a travel bursary to experience maternity services and midwifery services in a different setting to the one they are familiar with, either in the UK or abroad. Melanie is one of three entrants short-listed for the award.

Melanie founded the Bereaved Parent Together group. She recently undertook a RCM accredited course in hypnobirthing, which aids gentle birthing, and she is studying a BSc Midwifery course that finishes in 2015.

Sarah Green, Head of Nursing and Midwifery at UWE Bristol, said, “We are proud to be part of the education of midwives and Melanie is a testimony for the amazing students that we have in our department. Melanie's strong commitment, aspirations and value centred care show how investment in student midwives ultimately benefits the women and their families of which midwives care for.”

Melanie Phelps said,"I feel really pleased and honoured to have been shortlisted for the RCM award. This fascinating rural clinic provides antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care and education with minimal resources and in difficult circumstances. I hope to learn how their 'gentle birthing' approach copes with the impact of trauma and loss that arises from the poor conditions and economic strains the people live with. I am sure this experience will enhance my own practice and development and commitment to provide safe, positive and supportive care to women and I look forward to coming home and sharing my learning with others."

“I hope my leanings from local midwives and women from the gentle birthing approach will enrich my understanding when dealing with complications of pregnancy, birth, loss or trauma. I hope that my experience will add to my toolkit of skills and therefore my capacity to respond compassionately and sensitively to mothers and their choices, so their experiences are as positive as possible despite difficult circumstances.”

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “I congratulate Melanie on being shortlisted and on her commitment to the profession.

“When student midwives are given the resources, support and freedom to develop their work and learning, the result is empowered midwives and better services, better care and better outcomes for mothers, babies and their families. They are our future.”

Carla Berry, communications manager for Pampers UK and Ireland, said, "Pampers is proud to sponsor this award. Through our work with Unicef, we have seen first-hand the differences across the globe in terms of midwifery practices. We thought this was a great opportunity for a student to gain experience in a totally different environment to that in which they will be practising and to share their experiences with others."

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