During my last annual supervisory chat, my supervisor of midwives (SOM) – who really does deserve a medal, but we’ll come back to that – and I had a long chat about revalidation, which is the name for the latest set of requirements that UK midwives are going to need to meet when they renew their registration. These are being worked on at the moment, and I am hearing many midwives stressing about revalidation. One of the key sources of their stress is that we all need to start collecting feedback about our practice, which we then need to reflect on ahead of the revalidation process.
I was initially quite concerned about the feedback element of revalidation too, mainly in case women suddenly found themselves bombarded with requests for feedback. But my understanding now is that feedback from colleagues is equally acceptable as that from women, and we don’t need to be gathering essays or even written feedback; a line or two or even verbal feedback looks like it will be OK. So while other elements of the way in which midwives are being regulated may still cause people concern, it seems that this isn’t going to be quite as onerous as some people initially feared it would.
And, of course, swapping feedback is a good thing to do regardless of whether it’s part of the way we’re being regulated. I’ve recently sent positive feedback to a few colleages, including my supervisor, and not only is it quick and easy, it’s also really nice to do. (And my supervisor really does deserve thanks. There can’t be many SOMs who routinely face questions like, ‘So if I’m in my garden in Wiltshire talking on my mobile phone to a woman in Manchester, where exactly should I notify my intention to practice? And if I transfer the call to my bluetooth headset, get in the car and carry on the conversation while driving over the border to Oxfordshire, does that count as cross-boundary working?’ 😉 )
So I’m going to invite you to send a card, email, note, text or facebook message to a midwife colleague (even if they’re not in the UK!) who you feel deserves some positive feedback. Maybe you loved their calm presence at a recent birth, or the way they stepped in and helped you when something was going awry. Perhaps you want to acknowledge a colleague who has taught you something, or made you think, or whose support has helped you get through a course or adapt to a new working environment? You could send some positive words of encouragement to a student midwife whose growing skills are making your job easier or more interesting, or tell a lecturer how much their session helped you. Maybe if we start to spread some positive feedback love out there into the world, some of it will come back to us and help fill our own portfolios?!