4th May 2022

Tomorrow is International Day of the Midwife and we're celebrating by catching up with Grace Teape, a Screening Midwife at St Michael's Hospital. Grace's team looks after five out of the six screening programmes at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust.

Tell us more about your role at St Michael's Hospital?

We act as a specialist in the field of antenatal screening and diagnosis, assisting and advising midwives and other health professionals in the care of women undergoing the Antenatal and Newborn Screening Programme. We communicate results to women and partners that are sensitive and need to be managed in a timely manner, we invite women in for counselling sessions and support families in coming up with the right decision for them. We liaise with different departments and specialists to ensure that women get appropriate care, co-ordinate this care and ensure the wishes of the women and partner and being heard. We monitor the service by auditing and maintaining our key performance indicators to ensure we are hitting targets. We meet with different agencies to discuss the current processes and come up with ways we can improve our service. We educate and train doctors, midwives and maternity assistants in all aspects of the screening programme. We manage all screening incidents, report these to Public Health England and ensure actions are being undertaken.

How long have you worked at the hospital? 

I have worked in the hospital for  seven and a half years. I qualified as a midwife from University Hospitals Plymouth in September 2014 and started working at the trust in December 2014. I have worked in all areas including the central delivery suite, antenatal and postnatal wards, the midwife-led unit, community and most recently screening.

I also had a year out of midwifery where I went to work in a private fertility clinic as a fertility nurse. This gave me a better understanding of the journey women face before booking their pregnancy with a midwife, allowed me to understand all aspects of fertility and has made me a better midwife today. 

What is your favourite thing about your job? 

My favourite part of midwifery was actually community. I loved having your own caseload of women, meeting them right at the start of their pregnancy journey all the way through to the end when discharging them and their baby to the health visitors. You really got to know women well in community, make an impact on their care and support them through the whole journey. I worked in a lovely community team with fantastic midwives and we provided excellent care to our women. It was a very rewarding aspect of the job.

In my current position, I have less patient contact but I really enjoy supporting women through difficult times in their pregnancy such as when giving unexpected news and helping them come up with the right decision for them. I like talking to women and acting as a support.

I feel like we give a great service to our women and we are always on the end of the phone. 

What is the most unexpected part of your job? 

This is a difficult question as during your training you are prepared for most parts of your job. But the most unexpected part of midwifery is the complexity of women coming through the service. As we are a regional referral unit we see a lot of women with complex cardiac conditions and medical conditions. It is great we can provide this service to women but the complexity requires more input from different types of services. 

Support your hospitals with a house on the wall St Michaels Hospital Bristol

What is your favourite memory from your time in the role? 

My favourite memory of being in this job is going through the pregnancy, labour and postnatal period with one of my closest friends. It is an honour to be present at someone’s birth and for a close friend to want you to be their birthing support was a privilege. I was their both through her first and second labours. First one was a baby girl on the midwife-led unit and the second one was twins on central delivery suit, one boy and one girl. All vaginal births and she did amazing. I was not only able to use my professional knowledge to help her but also be there as a friend. Both births were different but just as special. It is also special when you see women you have looked after previously come back through the service, remember your name and who you are and request that you look after them. Midwifery can be such a rewarding job! 

We have a very special community at St Michael’s Hospital. You can say thank you for care at St Mike's by moving into 'St Michael's Village' - our home from home. Your personalised house is a unique way to celebrate your family and help to support future families at St Michael’s.

Buy your St Mike's house

You'll be able to see your new home on the wall at the antenatal/postnatal unit, Ward 73, Level E at St Michael's Hospital, Bristol.