Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Sunday, 4 May 2008 15:08 UK

Student midwives face uncertainty

Pregnant woman
One in ten midwife students have debts between 7,000 and 9,000

Final year students studying to become midwives are struggling to find jobs, its governing body in Wales has warned.

A UK-wide survey of those hoping to graduate this year suggested that less than 10% had secured a midwifery post.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) also says that many of its students are worried about getting into debt.

The RCM says it is now campaigning for student midwives to be awarded a 10,000 bursary to help them through their training.

The head of the RCM in Wales Helen Rogers said: "Midwifery in Wales has been an all graduate profession for some time now.

"However, the RCM is aware that student midwives are under considerable financial pressure.

"We are also aware that newly qualified midwives are finding it much more difficult to find jobs."

There are people from my university who qualified as midwives last year and still do not have jobs
Lynn Jones, midwife student

The survey has been published to coincide with Midwifery Week, which starts on Monday.

Only 8% of the final year students said they had secured a job, in the UK-wide survey, which saw 170 responses.

A further 58% of those without work said they were not confident of finding a midwife post.

One in 10 of those who responded also said they had accumulated debts of between 7,000 and 9,000 while studying for their degree.

Stressful

Lynn Jones, a final year student at the University of Glamorgan, said getting a job after qualifying is a huge concern.

"There are limited jobs out there. There are people from my university who qualified as midwives last year and still do not have jobs," said the 29-year-old from Caerphilly.

"I have tried to do everything possible as a student so my application will stand out. I have been to Ethiopia for my elective placement.

"It is stressful worrying about getting a job, but this is what I want to do. I have a mortgage and am married, I could relocate but it would be quite difficult."

The general secretary of the RCM, Dame Karlene Davis, added: "This survey confirms what we have been saying for some time - that morale amongst student midwives is declining because of their accumulated debts and uncertainty about job prospects."




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