Queen’s University Belfast’s School of Nursing & Midwifery has been awarded a Certificate of Commitment in its first step towards gaining international recognition from the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative for the high levels of training in breastfeeding provided to students on its midwifery/health visiting course.
"We decided to work with the Baby Friendly Initiative to ensure a high standard of training in breastfeeding for all student midwives/health visitors graduating from this course,” said Carolyn Moorhead, Midwifery Lecturer (Education).
“We know that many women give up breastfeeding before they want to because of difficulties which could have been prevented if skilled help had been on hand. By ensuring that our students are fully trained in how to help a mother breastfeed her child, more women will be able to breastfeed their babies for longer.”
Carolyn continued: "Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as allergies and diabetes in childhood. We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers – although mums might be more interested in hearing that it’s easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding.”
The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme which provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided for all mothers and babies.
The Baby Friendly University Award was launched in the UK in 2008 – the first such award anywhere in the world – by Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo, in order to ensure high levels of training in breastfeeding are incorporated in midwifery and health visitor training courses.
The Certificate of Commitment recognises that a university is dedicated to implementing recognised best practice standards in breastfeeding training, and is part way along the road to full Baby Friendly Accreditation.
"We are delighted that Queen’s University has received this award,” said Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director Sue Ashmore. “Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Working towards full Baby Friendly Accreditation means that Queen’s is addressing this problem and aiming to ensure more mothers can successfully breastfeed their babies in future.”
On Wednesday 30th September 2015, the Nursing Times announced its annual list of the most inspirational nursing leaders in the UK today. The list is comprised of 48 nurses from all parts of the UK and includes people from frontline nursing roles, management, research and academia.
Of the 48 named on the list, 4 were from Northern Ireland:
1. Janice Smyth - Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland.
2. Tanya McCance - Director of the Institute of Nursing and Health Research at the University of Ulster.
3. Maurice Devine - Assistant Director of the HSC Clinical Education Centre in Northern Ireland.
4. Gary Mitchell - Dementia Care Advisor of Four Seasons Health Care and Doctoral Researcher at Queen's University Belfast.
In relation to QUB postgraduate student Gary Mitchell, the judging panel commented: "Gary's determination to raise the profile of nursing in the independent sector shows how much nurses can achieve outside the NHS and makes him a role model for newer nurses". (Nursing Times Leaders 2015, 111, 40, pg. 11).