For trainee midwife, Denise Ahmed, the profession is more than just a job. She says it is a calling.
Denise, 33, who has been named Inspirational Student of the Year for juggling life as a mother-of-four with her studies at university and midwifery duties, has also been hailed a local hero at Hillingdon Hospital.
She says she was inspired to get into the profession after having all four of her children at the hospital.
Denise has already delivered 37 babies, meaning she has almost reached the total of 40 deliveries required for her training at the University of West London, 15 months early.
"Being a part of someone’s new chapter in life, there’s no other job like it as far as I’m concerned. It’s a calling.
"I remember my first delivery. It was a baby boy. It was in August of last year. It was very emotional, very scary. It’s an amazing privilege and honour. It just set the pathway for the bug and I’ve been hooked ever since."
There is currently a shortage of about 3,200 midwives across England, according to recent figures from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).
Typically midwives work 12-hour shifts, which many in the profession say is not reflected in the pay.
The starting salary for a midwife in England is £21,388, rising to £25,665 in inner London.
This year the RCM joined other NHS workers in England in a strike over pay – the first in its 133-year history.
The walkouts in October and November were after the Government rejected a one per cent pay rise, as recommended by an independent pay review panel.
"We didn’t strike for so many years because patients and women and children in our care are our focus but we realise that we needed to make a stand.
"We needed to stand together and say this is unfair. What we do needs to be appreciated and it needs to be reflected in the pay.
"Mr Cameron got his 11 per cent but we were not worthy of the one per cent and I think that is nothing in comparison to what these ladies do."
However Denise says she feels passionate about the profession and says she thrives on making a difference.
"You don’t come in thinking ‘I’m going to be a multi-millionaire’ or ‘I’m going to have a five-bedroom house at the end of the day’, because it’s not going to happen.
"You do it because you get the bug. Your job has its own benefits and you get your richness from the women that you look after and the difference that you make. That’s invaluable.
"They say at the beginning when you say goodbye and you leave the unit, you leave your work with you but you can never do that.
"There are times I go home and I will message at 3am asking 'How is my lady getting on?' if you have handed over care of a night shift because you can’t get them out of your head.
"It is a way of life. We come into it and we stay. You will do a lot more hours than you are supposed to, you will not get paid for it but you always remember why you came into it, you come in to make a difference."Reuse content