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RCM Wales office opening and Midsoc launch

20 March 2014

Cardiff University midwifery students launch the Cardiff Midwifery society
Cardiff University midwifery students launch the Cardiff Midwifery society

On Thursday 20th February 2014, the Royal College of Midwives Wales officially opened their new offices in Eastgate House, Cardiff. 

The event, which also launched the Cardiff Midwifery Society, was held in the conference room of the new RCM office. Excited guests, including midwives from across Wales, sipped Prosecco and nibbled on pastel-coloured macaroons, miniature pistachio-adorned carrot cakes and other sweet treats.

Among the prestigious attendees was Professor Jean White, Chief Nursing Officer for Wales, who congratulated the team on their new space and emphasised how important a collaborative relationship with the RCM was to her.

The event opened with a presentation by Helen Rogers, Director of RCM Wales. She spoke of the excitement of having a new space and thanked the staff for their hard work and enthusiasm in facilitating the move. She said, "Our new eighth-floor location is ideal for our members. It increases our visibility and accessibility and puts us in the heart of Cardiff. The refurbished high-profile reception area and larger meeting rooms will enable us to offer better services and resources, training and conferences for our members."

Professor Cathy Warwick, CEO and General Secretary of the RCM, followed with a fascinating presentation on the successes of the RCM and the areas where it can continue to build. She spoke passionately about the opportunities for change and how far midwifery has come in the past century alone, using as an example the all-too-recent standard whereby all women were given an uncomfortable perineum shave upon admission in labour. Research, compounded by pressure from the RCM, she explained, helped to change this in the 1970s. She urged those present, including the student midwives, to remember that at practitioner level, they have the power to change service provision for the better.

Professor Lesley Page, President of the RCM, spoke warmly of how impressed she was with the new space and of her love of Cardiff as a city. She congratulated the RCM Wales team on their achievement and thanked them for a wonderful event. She then presented them with a beautiful crystal commemorative vase.  

Professor Billie Hunter spoke about her positive experiences of working with the RCM and how proud she was to be the first RCM Professor of Midwifery in the United Kingdom (there is now another in Scotland). She talked about her research into resilience with Doctor Lucie Warren, and about how important it is to share passion and excitement around midwifery with students and young midwives. She also talked about her fascination with the histories of midwives and how this led to her book, co-written with Professor Nicky Leap, of the University of Technology, Sydney, and titled 'The Midwife's Tale'.

Professor Sheila Hunt, Dean of the School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University, congratulated the students on the launch of the Midwifery Society and spoke about the pleasures of working with the RCM, including the appointment of Billie Hunter as the UK's first RCM Professor. She explained that the midwifery team at Cardiff continues to expand, with Dr Julia Sanders joining the School as a Reader, and looked back fondly on her memories of RCM members.

Finally, Chelsea Thomas, President of the Cardiff Midwifery Society, was accompanied by committee members to officially launch the society. She explained that they aim to advocate for Cardiff University student midwives and in the near future will provide open debates, social events and study days for members. Grace Thomas, Professional Head of Midwifery at the School of Healthcare Sciences, said, "I'm absolutely thrilled that the Midwifery Society has launched and would like to make special mention of Chelsea Thomas, who has taken the lead in establishing this society. Chelsea is the current chair of the UK RCM Student Midwife Forum and has recently published an article in the Midwives journal about her trip to the Phillipines last summer to experience midwifery care there – we are very proud of her."

Events such as this provide the opportunity to look back at successes and forward at goals; to network and make new friends, and to catch up with old ones. The presence of the RCM in Eastgate House, where the School of Healthcare Sciences is part-based, reminds us of how important it is to work collaboratively and to share the ideas and questions that arise as a result of study, research and practice.

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