Walsall Healthcare is proud to announce the appointment of its first full-time Professional Midwife Advocate (PMA) Lead to support its maternity staff.
Lisa Baker will lead a team of three part-time PMAs across the Trust – Delivery Suite Team Leaders Natalie Wilkes and Leanne Walker and Heather McHugh, Specialist Mental Health Midwife.
“I’m proud, delighted and thrilled to be taking on this role,” said Lisa, who has worked at the Trust for 11 years. “I will be there to support and listen to all staff and encourage personal action and educational development to enhance quality improvement.
“We have other sessional PMAs across the Trust but they have substantive posts as well so there’s only a small amount of time they can devote to the role, so being full-time in the job, I can bring us all together as a team.”
A PMA’s role is based on the A-EQUIP (Advocating and Educating for QUality ImProvement) model of professional nursing/midwifery leadership and clinical supervision.
This means advocating education and improvement in midwives and supporting healthcare professionals with personal, emotional and psychological support to build resilience clinically, quality in care and prepare them for appraisal and revalidation.
“Research has shown this supportive role reduces stress and burnout, and has a positive effect on wellbeing and improves job satisfaction,” added Lisa.
“It’s similar to the Professional Nurse Advocates (PNAs) service to encourage reflection and downtime for midwives to have thinking space so they feel valued and can learn from practice to improve safety and care for women, babies and families.
“Because it’s a new role, I’m networking with regional PMAs to see what’s happening at other Trusts. My aim is to be visible, out there supporting staff, women and their families.”
While acknowledging it’s a significant role, Lisa says she has the support of other departments to help midwives.
“We have close links with governance too so if there are any incidents they can notify me and I can offer to the staff involved,” she added.
Lisa is also keen to stress that the support is not just there for midwives, but other staff and patients too.
“It’s a new full-time role within midwifery but it’s not just for midwives, it’s for all staff and for women and families,” she said.
“For example, if they need that extra support through restorative clinical supervision – which addresses the emotional needs and supports the development of resilience – or assistance in personal action for quality improvement and education, or preparing for professional revalidation, I am there for them.”
Lisa trained at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust and worked as a midwife there before transferring to Walsall working as a midwife, a supervisor of midwives and in practice development.