Dr Susanne Darra was a practising Midwife for many years before she joined the then School of Health Science in 2001. In addition to being a mother to growing daughters and the accompanying responsibilities, Susanne continued to work as a practising midwife and then University tutor. Her scholarly achievement is impressive. In addition to her Midwifery qualifications she has a degree in Politics, a MA in Medical Humanities and a PGCE. More recently Susanne’s dedication to midwifery and the care of women was demonstrated in the focus of her PhD study which explored the birth stories of women and the midwives who had cared for them. Susanne’s study made some important findings which will inform models of midwifery care for normal birth in the future
From her earliest days as a Midwifery Tutor she has been passionate about the education of student midwives and has always been committed to engagement and innovation in her approach to teaching. In her present role as Head of Midwifery Education, Susanne is well known to midwives across Wales, most of who have been taught by her. Her student centred approach which encourages autonomy, self- expression and development of new ideas by the students has fostered a student culture of commitment and academic achievement.
Her ability for originality has led her to become an inspirational leader in midwifery and midwifery education locally, across Wales and indeed in the UK, particularly in the field of curriculum development and student assessment in the practice setting. The clinical skills framework for midwifery assessment was adopted across Wales as part of the assessment strategy in other Universities. Susanne’s skill and expertise as a Lead Midwife for Education, an NMC appointed role, has been called upon in an advisory capacity by the LME group in Wales, and the UK LME group.
As a colleague and friend, I have worked with Susanne and shared an office with her for twelve years. I have observed her work ethic which is exemplary and consider her to be a role model who celebrates the aspiration of those who work around her. Each member of the Midwifery team is encouraged to seek and achieve their personal goals with her encouragement and support. Furthermore her kindness and empathy as a human being promotes a culture of nurture in which personal growth and success are inevitable. The success of the Midwifery team in the College of Human and Health Science is due to the shared endeavour and mutual understanding of the team, but is inspired by its leader, Susanne.