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Kit Oriakhi describes how rapidly our maternity education team’s role changed to support staff during covid-19

Kit Oriakhi Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Kit Oriakhi's role as Maternity Education Team Lead involved leading a team of educators supporting their midwifery colleagues to develop their skills and working to keep improving our Maternity services. As the pandemic hit, Kit’s role as an educator changed drastically, and reflects below on her experiences.

Kit, from Barking, is married to husband Felix and has three children, aged 29, 21 and 10. Kit was born in Lambeth, London and was raised in Lagos, Nigeria from the age of 11 and describes having “experienced the best of both worlds.” In addition to being dedicated to fantastic midwifery care, she is also a devoted Formula One fan and is team Lewis all the way! 

“Being a midwife is something I’ve always wanted to do. Some personal experiences highlighted to me the awesomeness of midwives and how empowering they are in a birth experience. I’ve been a registered nurse and midwife for 15 years.

“In 2013 I moved into Education, working to enhance the quality of student learning experience at our Trust. I now lead the team and we provide local inductions, multidisciplinary mandatory training, support continuing and personal development and create personalised learner journeys for midwifery staff.

“When the pandemic first hit, I was asked to attend a training session run by our Infection Prevention and Control team with educators from other departments of our hospitals and we were told we would have the task of disseminating Covid-19 PPE information and training. That was when it dawned on me that things were about to change fast and drastically.

“All training was suspended and all student midwives were withdrawn from their placements by the higher education institutes.”

“The need to engage with staff and keep them up to date with the ever-evolving situation became an apparent priority. Staff needed to be familiarised with PPE and when to use it and they needed to know where to find the latest guidance.

“Because of this, effective retrieval of information and swift dissemination became a pivotal component of the Maternity Education team’s role. Covid-19 thrust us into the virtual realm of Twitter as a resource for keeping up to date with the constantly changing terrain of protocols and guidelines from the Royal College of Midwives , Royal College of Obstetricians , Public Health England and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, just to name a few.

“Working with other staff groups, the Maternity team practiced potential scenarios that could happen when caring for patients during the pandemic. This allowed us to identify the key job roles that would be required in each scenario, and to test our policies and procedures for any glitches.

“We’ve adapted and I’m pleased we’ve now been able to recommence training and second and third year student midwives have returned to clinical practice.

“And, we’ve continued to network with other educators within our hospitals and beyond to share knowledge and good practice.

“Though it has been a challenging period, a positive for me is how it has brought us closer together as a workforce. We’re using previously untapped communication channels such as virtual meeting software.

“I have learnt immensely about how, through the power of togetherness, we can accomplish anything we set our sights on.”

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