For both Lead Transformation Midwife Zoe Nelson and the organisation team, the graduation ceremony, which had previously been delayed due to restrictions around the Covid pandemic, was significant for a number of reasons. “This cohort of Midwives has been the first to have to fund their own degrees,” Zoe Explains.
“During the Pandemic, they also supported us by joining the staffing rotas as Aspirant Midwives. They rose to the challenge to complete their training early by ensuring they had all the relevant clinical experience, and completed their coursework, which was no mean feat! By doing this, it allowed them to join the rotas as qualified midwives when we needed them the most.”
Zoe continues: “At the time, I was the Acute Matron, and believe me having them work alongside a supportive team ensured we continued to provide safe, high quality care for those families having their babies during the pandemic. We are proud to say that our service was able to continue normally when many maternity services around the country were faced with reducing their services, which meant reducing choice for women and pregnant people. With all this in mind, we believe our recent graduates are one of the most deserving cohorts of midwives ever to have graduated.”
Truro College very kindly hosted the ceremony completely free of charge, including the catering. Jane Cashmore from the college said:
“We all know how hard the NHS has worked during the Pandemic, but when we heard what this cohort of midwifery students had done to support the maternity services in Cornwall, we were honoured to be part of these celebrations.”
The college even came to the rescue when Eric, their media photographer offered to do the official photos, again, free of charge. Zoe said: “The team at the college could not do enough to support us. Libby was a fantastic events coordinator and Gerrard and Chris took charge of the technology to ensure family and friends of the graduates could watch the event.”
As part of the celebrations, singer-songwriter Tom Cary also performed his original song “Give a Little”, which was previously used as the soundtrack to the RCHT Maternity “Lockdown Babies” video. Tom said: “I was extremely honoured to have my song used for the Midwive’s lockdown video last year. The proceeds of this song have gone to NHS Charities during the Pandemic, so to be asked to perform the song live for the graduation is just the cherry on the cake. I want to say a huge thank you to the incredible team for inviting me along for the journey. I feel very honoured indeed. “Kim O’Keeffe, Joint Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals, and Honorary Associate Professor of Nursing, was a presenter for the awards, along with Head of Midwifery Jane Urben. Helen Williams, Regional Chief Midwifery Officer, was among the friends and family virtual audience, and gave thanks to the mentors during the closing ceremony.
“Unfortunately, the graduates missed out on their traditional ceremonies due to the pandemic,” Zoe concludes. “Giving them the opportunity to celebrate with a full ceremony is not just a way to say thank you and congratulations for all their hard work, but for our hospitals as a whole to share in their accomplishments. The success of our graduates is further proof that our hospitals are a really caring and compassionate, wonderful place to work as a Midwife.”