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Inspirational Student Midwife Nominated for Award

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A University of Worcester student has been honoured for her work with bereaved families, with a British Journal of Midwifery Practice Award nomination.

Debbie Taylor, from Down Hatherley in Gloucestershire, has been shortlisted for the Student Midwife of the Year prize at the organisation’s twelfth annual awards, which have become a prestigious part of the Midwifery calendar.

Debbie has been a volunteer with her local Stillbirth and Neonatal Death (SANDS) group since 2011, and has helped to organise and facilitate a number of initiatives, including monthly support groups; telephone and email support; and home visits, and has also played an active role in the group’s fundraising activities in recent years.

To date, these efforts have enabled the group to fund two fully-equipped bereavement suites at a Gloucestershire Hospital; memory boxes given to parents; events for bereaved families; and bereavement care training for all health professionals.

Debbie explains: “We work with our local trust to support parents who have experienced the death of a baby. The group is one of the most successful in the country, and has recently been approached by another Trust which has asked for our support; a major achievement which we are very proud of.

“Listening to parents, I have heard stories of the amazing care and support that they have received from their midwife. However, I have also heard many stories of occasions where care has lacked sensitivity and compassion.

“Some midwives have received very little training in caring for bereaved parents, and with this in mind, I have organised a SANDS study day at the University of Worcester, open to future health professionals.

“I feel passionately that those going into professions such as midwifery should be equipped to provide excellent care for women and their families, and I am delighted to have been recognised with a nomination for the Student Midwife of the Year award.”

The third-year student was nominated for the award by Toni Martin, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery at Worcester, who explains: “Debbie is an inspiring student midwife who has consistently demonstrated a passion for providing excellent care of women and their babies.

“Her compassion for women who have suffered the loss of their babies has shone throughout her three years as a student midwife, and she is an advocate for women in this situation. 

“The Midwifery teaching team are very proud to have her as a student and look forward to working with her as a qualified midwife in the near future.”

The award winners will be announced in a ceremony at London’s Le Meridien Piccadilly on March 23. Nine awards will be presented on the night, with Midwife of the Year, Educator of the Year and Leadership in Midwifery among the other categories.