A timely delivery with Midwifery students’ money challenge

Creature comforts, continuity of care and creating a less clinical environment were the top design requirements for Midwifery students set a novel challenge.

First-year students were tasked with creating the ideal birthing suite for families, with the unique advantage of an imaginary, endless amount of money.

Their final, ‘ideal world’ designs covered everything the students felt would make expectant families feel as comfortable and confident as possible.

Four of the students sum up the thoughts behind their final designs:

Zoe McClintock (on the left of the main image and whose design is pictured): “It was surprising to have such a creative activity, but we really threw ourselves into it – I even searched for some graphic design websites to give my work an extra, professional edge!

“The ‘brief’ was literally to create the perfect suite with all the money in the world. But we had the design of a basic apartment to start us off, such as adjustable healthcare emergency needs, but hidden away (like the bed). Making mothers and their families feel 100 percent comfortable was something we were all thinking about.”

Maddie Bierton (second right of the photo) fully agrees with Zoe: “Excessively clinical environments can be off-putting for some mothers and might affect the ease of their birth experience. Even the word clinical can be too much. The hormone oxytocin brings on contractions and this is produced when you feel comfortable, so we wanted our suites to feel more like a mother’s home, to give a more relaxed birthing experience.

“For instance, we have included sofas to provide a comfortable space where they can have cuddle with their partner. We also feature items mothers and families can bring from home, such as photos and their own, favourite cushions to place on the sofa, or scented candles. A person-centred approach is absolutely key; it’s one of the main things we’ve all learned from our degrees.”

Devon Quantock (first from the right of the image) continues the theme of a personalised setting and personalised care: “One of us even had a creche in their rooms as childcare can be an issue for some mothers!

“We also thought about how midwives are there to help and give support and information and have meaningful conversations with families and for there to always be a single midwife on hand – given how busy midwifery teams are, perhaps we also need unlimited time!

“But it’s really good that the University has this exercise. It really got us thinking about many issues and having those considerations in your head when you go into practice; that is how we can help change to be implemented.”

Helen Malloy (on the left of the image with Zoe) concludes: “We are all preparing for our first clinical placements, but I have some experience of working on a midwifery ward in a healthcare assistant capacity, so it was interesting to see what we all came up with the final designs.

“Obviously these are ‘ideal world’ thoughts and not everything on our wish lists would be possible, but there are important considerations we need to always bear in mind. Such as always making people feel listened to, that they are not just a number, taking partners’ thoughts into consideration and to be adaptable to people’s needs. A midwife doesn’t need a bottomless pot of money to achieve that.”

Find out more about Midwifery at the University of Northampton.

Some of the other designs

Midwifery birthing suite bottomless pot of money

Midwifery birthing suite bottomless pot of cash

Midwifery birthing suite bottomless pot of money

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