Carole has been a research midwife for about 5 years. She is currently the lead coordinator of a randomised controlled trial looking at the early management and detection of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.

Carole has been a research midwife for about 5 years. She originally trained and worked as a general nurse in areas such as orthopaedics and surgery, before becoming a sister in cardiology. After Carole’s children had grown up, she retrained as a midwife a career which she had always been very interested in. Carole worked for 17 years as a midwife and, during this time, she also undertook a Master’s degree in Applied Sociology. The qualification helped develop her skills and knowledge about different types of research, and she focused her dissertation on pregnant women who had experienced domestic violence.

Carole started her first job as a research midwife in 2012. She worked on the pilot study of a randomised controlled trial looking at the early management and detection of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, and she is now the lead coordinator of the full trial. Carole has been involved in many of the study activities, including recruitment (checking eligibility), taking consent from participants, showing participants how to use the equipment (home blood pressure monitors), and contacting participants if there are any concerns with their blood pressure readings. As the lead coordinator, Carole also supports research midwives new to the study by helping to prepare them for the role and shadowing them initially. She hopes that the research results will lead to improvements for pregnant patients as well as for community midwives and other health professionals who look after women and babies.

Carole has been interested in research for a long time and feels it is an important way to promote better standards of health for women. She thinks there is a close relationship between clinical practice and research because both require doing the best you can for the person involved (the patient or the participant). She points out that, in midwifery practice and research, this usually means helping two or more people because you’ve got a baby on board as well. Until quite recently, Carole continued to work occasional clinical shifts at the hospital for example, on weekends. She stopped when the research became very busy but she likes keeping the option open to go back to practicing midwifery in a clinical setting.

Carole likes that her job as a research midwife allows her to spend time with pregnant women and to support them in various ways. This might be answering a question about pregnancy or listening to the woman’s concerns about another matter. Carole highlights that some women have had upsetting past events, including premature deliveries or traumatic births, and memories and fears can come to the fore when they are pregnant again. Carole says it is important to be sure that pregnant women understand what they are agreeing to when they sign up to be in a study. One challenge she has found is with women who do not have a good grasp of the English language, as it can be difficult to know whether they have fully understood the information provided about the study.

Carole expects she will continue working as a research midwife for another two years. After this, she would like to do voluntary work and undertake some research of her own choosing. She is looking for funding to do a PhD on maternal obesity, as she believes this is a key area needing more research.

Carole had no shortage of evidence for her midwifery revalidation, including activities undertaken for Continued Professional Development or feedback from patients.

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Carole felt it was important to work around other clinical activities and reduce the impact on her colleagues.

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Carole felt there was good synergy between the aims of both clinical and research midwifery.

Gender Female