So I arrived home today after a day of lectures to find the latest edition of the Midwives journal- The Royal College of Midwives (Winter edition 2016) . Having a read through I stumbled across an article regarding PTSD in the workplace. ‘Facing the truth- PTSD and the profession’ (RCM 2016).
As I read the first paragraph my heart sank- thoughts of nightmares, comments of panic attacks, drinking to stop the thoughts, ascribed so eloquently, this sounded more like a scene from Full Metal Jacket. As I read further it was revealed that the account was taken from a first year student midwife who had witnessed a horrendous birth at the end of her first year. My heart sank further- statistics now show that 1 in 20 midwives will experience clinically significant post- traumatic stress disorder in the UK (Sheen et al 2015).
PTSD affects anyone who has been exposed to trauma, as student midwives, registered midwives and practitioners we are all aware of the enormity of our profession- the severe lack of funding and TLC our precious NHS needs deserves. The RCM (2016a) report that the pressure on midwives has never been as great, longer working hours, no time for basic human necessities like having a wee! Not getting breaks, teamed with the fact that the birth rate is up almost one quarter in the last decade (Office of National Statistics 2014) ,compounding staff shortages and increasing multiple births, increase in maternal age and expectant mothers with pre-existing conditions means the strain and stress on the midwife has never been so prevalent.
The RCM has recognised this and has adapted the ‘caring for you’ charter. The aim is for organisations to acknowledge and sign the charter. To improve the health, working conditions and quality of care of student midwives and midwives.
What I take from this article and what I think we all need to remember is that we must care for ourselves- A midwife who works in a positive, compassionate and supportive workplace is more likely to deliver positive, compassionate and supportive care!
SOOOOOOOOOOOO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND EACH OTHER!!!! WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER