University team sharing award-winning ways of supporting mums-to-be

Swansea University’s Midwifery and Parenting Centre has proved so successful, the team behind it are set to share their experiences with colleagues across Wales.

The Centre, at the University’s Health and Wellbeing Academy, offers free antenatal and postnatal care and support delivered by student midwives. Now its work has helped earn Dr Sarah Norris, Swansea University’s Head of Midwifery Education and Lead Midwife for Education, a top national honour.

Sarah, who leads the team of midwifery education colleagues which launched the centre, has just received the Excellence in Midwifery Education Award at this year’s Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Awards.

Dr Sarah Norris Award The award, presented by TV presenter Alex Jones at a London ceremony, recognises Sarah’s continued enthusiasm and practical support for the next generation of midwives.

Dr Sarah Norris pictured centre with Rebecca Bennett from award sponsor Johnson’s and host Alex Jones, presenter of BBC's The One Show. 

The Centre not only offers students learning opportunities but is also a place where women can receive care and support in the community before and after their pregnancy.

Student midwives supervised by Sarah and her colleagues  offer antenatal and postnatal support including initiatives such as breastfeeding support groups, hypnobirthing techniques and post natal support groups to mothers and families in the surrounding area. The Academy also has a birth trauma resolution clinic to support women.

Sarah said: “I am thrilled and very proud to have won this award but it really is the result of a great team effort. Credit for the success of the Centre belongs to everyone involved in this project.”

Ana Peachey is one of the students who has benefited and described Sarah’s award as very well deserved.

She said: “The Health and Wellbeing Academy is such an amazing facility and an attractive part of studying at Swansea University.

“We’re so lucky that we have the opportunity to take part in antenatal classes, breastfeeding groups and hypnobirthing classes and we learn so much in doing so  - from both the lecturers and the women who attend.”

Sarah has also been congratulated by Health Education and Improvement Wales, the body which has a leading role in the education, training and development of the Welsh healthcare workforce.

Its Director of Nursing Stephen Griffiths said: “It is wonderful to see the high quality work of healthcare educators in Wales recognised on a national basis. It’s the passion and commitment shown by Sarah and her colleagues to educating future generations of midwives that makes Wales a truly great place to train and work.”

Gill Walton, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, added: “This is a great example of innovative midwifery education in action. Importantly it not only brings benefits for the students and lecturers, but also the women and their families. The project was also done in partnership with other sections of the health community making it also a great example of collaboration.”

Sarah said she is now eager to build on that success:  “We want to share our experiences with our midwifery colleagues across Wales. We would love to be able to encourage them to start projects offering the same kind of support in their communities too.”