RCM Education Conference 2021

This year's RCM Education Conference was very different to last years. This time last year, it was before the pandemic truly hit the UK and I think we were all a little bit in denial. The conference took place in Leeds and I was also apart of the programme, with my research project being presented and me doing a conference talk. It was a different world! 

This year, the conference took place online, which is obviously very different, however it has become a sense of normal over the past year, and as I've talked about before, I actually really enjoy learning and working from the comfort of my own home. The other huge difference is that my perspective on midwifery education has completely flipped. I am now on the other side of my undergraduate degree training, and although I am looking forward to continuing my education in the future, right now I am focussing on clinical practice and being a great Practice Supervisor, so that I can help new students in their own journeys. 

Now in it's 8th year, this year's theme was "Resetting education in the light of Covid-19". The aim was to reflect on responses to the pandemic by educators, plus to plan ahead with education, promotion and well-being within the profession. 

Taking a national approach, the day explored the approaches taken by England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, with experiences shared by both students and educators. This was interesting to see similar perspectives, whilst also appreciating the different attitudes and approaches of each individual. Having been a student during these changes it was also nice to see my own experiences reflected back, ensuring that I am defintely not alone in my thoughts. 

I loved that there was a strong focus on mental health and well-being, alongside accessing support and teaching resilience. I have seen new methods across the board, both in university, placement and trusts, to encourage this open policy and expression of vulnerability. When Jayne Marshall discussed the virtual mentorship scheme, I thought that sounded like a great improvement to further support students in practice, especially as academic staff can't currently visit placement areas. . 

For me, supporting students in practice was the areas of most use. Obviously, I plan on using my own experiences to guide my teaching, but hearing about some of the newer models was eye opening: CLiP and Synergy. Plus, embedding MCoC model in pre-registration education, which I think will be vital for the future of maternity services. I was lucky to have this in my undergraduate studies already, through caseholding, but other's haven't had any experience so far. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the day and although very different from last year, still incredibly informative and a great opportunity to learn.