Jenny Gough : Midwife (private/independent & NHS)

 

Jenny Gough profile photo (2)Name: Jenny Gough

Age: 30

Job title: Midwife (private/independent & NHS)

Time in current role: 5 years

Jenny is a midwife who offers bespoke antenatal, labour, birth and postnatal services. Visit her website jennythemidwife.com and follow her Facebook page.

 

 

How did you land your current job?

I qualified as a midwife in 2011 after four years full-time degree training through which you do a combination of full time-lectures or full-time shift work.

My first job upon qualifying was at a busy maternity unit in central London, where I worked for three years. Unfortunately I was then afflicted with quite severe back problems, meaning I had to leave my job to recover. During this break I thought long and hard about what to do and how to protect my back and prevent a relapse. I decided to look into working for myself whilst still supporting families and using my midwifery knowledge, and I came across a Making the Move workshop for potentially independent midwives.

Then I looked into setting up a business from the comfort of my own home. At first I offered antenatal courses to expectant parents, including hypnobirthing and parent craft 1 to 1 in couples’ homes. It took a while before I could go back to offering full support, including through labour and birth (funny positions and long periods on my feet were not compatible with my back), but eventually I felt ready and I’ve never looked back.

What are the key functions of your role?

I tend to work alone most of the time, but I usually have someone I can call if needed. Sometimes I’ll support other midwives with clients and vice versa, so we may share appointments or act as a second pair of hands at a birth, but the rest of the time it’s just me.

It’s my responsibility to care for women and their families from the moment they book a package. This could be the moment they find out they’re pregnant, close to the birth or in between. It can even be once the baby has been born. We meet beforehand to see if we’re right for each other and I’m then able to provide their entire clinical care throughout pregnancy, birth (at home or hospital) and with their new baby.

If any issues crop up we’ll decide the best way forward together. This may mean working alongside another healthcare professional such as an obstetrician or sonographer.

I’m fiercely passionate about parents being given all the information they need to make choices for themselves, hence a big part of what I do revolves around preparation. Something happened in the last 60 years or so in maternity care which took choices away from families. I aim to help turn this around.

Talk us through your typical day at work

My days vary and I can never really predict what will happen. I may have a lie in, walk my dog and then head off to meet a new client in the afternoon, or I may be called at 3am to be told by an excited birth partner that the labour has started and they want me to come and support them.

I’m on call for clients for five weeks around their due date, so I often have to stay close to home, resist the urge to have an evening drink and often let my friends and family down around important times of the year. However, they are very understanding and when you get to be there for a new baby coming into the world it makes it all worth it.

I usually travel to the families instead of asking them to come to me – you get to know people a lot better when they are comfortable in their own home and it’s a lot easier to talk over a cup of tea and biscuits on a sofa instead of in a stuffy clinic room. This tends to mean I can’t go to too many appointments on one day as I spend a lot of my time travelling between them, so I may only have three or four in a busy day.

How would your colleagues describe you in three words?

Passionate, confident and…smiley.

Your favourite part of the job?

Having the time to create genuine, trusting relationships with parents to be and new families. In the NHS, although it was still what I went to work for, it was often made more difficult by the sheer amount of work you had to get through each day – sometimes without the resources needed. I’m a practical person, but I also love to meet new people and support them through new experiences – in my job I get this and so much more every day.

…and the part you could do without?

I will fully admit that getting woken up by a call in the middle of the night and jumping up to rush to the birth never gets any easier – the adrenaline kicks in once I’m in the car though!

Plans for the future? 

I think midwifery will always be a part of me and I see myself continuing what I do. I want to continue providing the continuity of care that, at present, is only possible through a private or independent service (at least where I’m currently living), however I would love to give some of what I do back to the NHS by possibly integrating or introducing some new ideas. I rely on the NHS to provide extra input and services for women if needed, so it will always be a part of what I do, whether I work directly for them or not.

In an ideal world, I would have my own clinic in a beautiful space, perhaps with a little tea room and coffee shop (with cake of course) for families to relax when they come to visit. It would be lovely for it to include space for other birth workers to provide a holistic package of care too. This would not replace the way I currently work, and I’d still want to provide my care in their homes because ultimately that’s where they tend to feel most comfortable.

Do you have any advice for others aspiring to break into your field?

Just do it! As soon as I decided to make the move and work independently, I wished I’d done it sooner. The business side of things is not at all scary, you learn everything once, or ask someone if you’re not sure. There’s always someone who has gone through it before you and is more than happy to help you on your way.

Keep an eye out for future Making the Move workshops, run by a fantastic IMUK midwife Liz Nightingale. This was the key to me making my decision and I would recommend them to anyone. I’m also happy to answer any questions I can, so feel free to get in touch through my website and I’ll help if I can or point you in the right direction! LLY

Midwife (private/independent & NHS)
Time in current role: 5 years

Jenny is a midwife who offers bespoke antenatal, labour, birth and postnatal services. Visit her website jennythemidwife.com and follow her Facebook page.

How did you land your current job?

I qualified as a midwife in 2011 after four years full-time degree training through which you do a combination of full time-lectures or full-time shift work.

My first job upon qualifying was at a busy maternity unit in central London, where I worked for three years. Unfortunately I was then afflicted with quite severe back problems, meaning I had to leave my job to recover. During this break I thought long and hard about what to do and how to protect my back and prevent a relapse. I decided to look into working for myself whilst still supporting families and using my midwifery knowledge, and I came across a Making the Move workshop for potentially independent midwives.

Then I looked into setting up a business from the comfort of my own home. At first I offered antenatal courses to expectant parents, including hypnobirthing and parent craft 1 to 1 in couples’ homes. It took a while before I could go back to offering full support, including through labour and birth (funny positions and long periods on my feet were not compatible with my back), but eventually I felt ready and I’ve never looked back.

What are the key functions of your role?

I tend to work alone most of the time, but I usually have someone I can call if needed. Sometimes I’ll support other midwives with clients and vice versa, so we may share appointments or act as a second pair of hands at a birth, but the rest of the time it’s just me.

It’s my responsibility to care for women and their families from the moment they book a package. This could be the moment they find out they’re pregnant, close to the birth or in between. It can even be once the baby has been born. We meet beforehand to see if we’re right for each other and I’m then able to provide their entire clinical care throughout pregnancy, birth (at home or hospital) and with their new baby.

If any issues crop up we’ll decide the best way forward together. This may mean working alongside another healthcare professional such as an obstetrician or sonographer.

I’m fiercely passionate about parents being given all the information they need to make choices for themselves, hence a big part of what I do revolves around preparation. Something happened in the last 60 years or so in maternity care which took choices away from families. I aim to help turn this around.

Talk us through your typical day at work

My days vary and I can never really predict what will happen. I may have a lie in, walk my dog and then head off to meet a new client in the afternoon, or I may be called at 3am to be told by an excited birth partner that the labour has started and they want me to come and support them.

I’m on call for clients for five weeks around their due date, so I often have to stay close to home, resist the urge to have an evening drink and often let my friends and family down around important times of the year. However, they are very understanding and when you get to be there for a new baby coming into the world it makes it all worth it.

I usually travel to the families instead of asking them to come to me – you get to know people a lot better when they are comfortable in their own home and it’s a lot easier to talk over a cup of tea and biscuits on a sofa instead of in a stuffy clinic room. This tends to mean I can’t go to too many appointments on one day as I spend a lot of my time travelling between them, so I may only have three or four in a busy day.

How would your colleagues describe you in three words?

Passionate, confident and…smiley.

Your favourite part of the job?

Having the time to create genuine, trusting relationships with parents to be and new families. In the NHS, although it was still what I went to work for, it was often made more difficult by the sheer amount of work you had to get through each day – sometimes without the resources needed. I’m a practical person, but I also love to meet new people and support them through new experiences – in my job I get this and so much more every day.

…and the part you could do without?

I will fully admit that getting woken up by a call in the middle of the night and jumping up to rush to the birth never gets any easier – the adrenaline kicks in once I’m in the car though!

Plans for the future?

I think midwifery will always be a part of me and I see myself continuing what I do. I want to continue providing the continuity of care that, at present, is only possible through a private or independent service (at least where I’m currently living), however I would love to give some of what I do back to the NHS by possibly integrating or introducing some new ideas. I rely on the NHS to provide extra input and services for women if needed, so it will always be a part of what I do, whether I work directly for them or not.

In an ideal world, I would have my own clinic in a beautiful space, perhaps with a little tea room and coffee shop (with cake of course) for families to relax when they come to visit. It would be lovely for it to include space for other birth workers to provide a holistic package of care too. This would not replace the way I currently work, and I’d still want to provide my care in their homes because ultimately that’s where they tend to feel most comfortable.

Do you have any advice for others aspiring to break into your field?

Just do it! As soon as I decided to make the move and work independently, I wished I’d done it sooner. The business side of things is not at all scary, you learn everything once, or ask someone if you’re not sure. There’s always someone who has gone through it before you and is more than happy to help you on your way.

Keep an eye out for future Making the Move workshops, run by a fantastic IMUK midwife Liz Nightingale. This was the key to me making my decision and I would recommend them to anyone. I’m also happy to answer any questions I can, so feel free to get in touch through my website and I’ll help if I can or point you in the right direction! LLY

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