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Case study: Research Midwife passionate about improving lives in south London

Read about Rebecca's path into research.

A south London research midwife has spoken about how her career is dedicated to improving the lives of pregnant women, their babies and families.

Rebecca Jarman, who works as a flexible research midwife for the NIHR CRN South London, has worked as a midwife for 26 years and her passion for helping others remains undiminished.

Speaking to promote the NIHR’s Your Path in Research campaign, Rebecca, who is a Research Midwife Champion for the Network, urged other midwives to consider taking their first or next step within research with the NIHR.

She said: “There has never been a better time to work in research and in particular midwifery research. Pregnancy is a key life event which shines a spotlight on women’s health and provides the opportunity to positively influence health during pregnancy and beyond. Research helps us to gather evidence to understand how to optimize health. I am excited to work in midwifery research as it contributes to improving the lives of women and families not just during pregnancy but over the course of their lives.

“I’ve worked for the NIHR CRN South London for almost three years, and I have never forgotten how supportive everyone was during a difficult period in my life. The NIHR really encourages you to follow your passions and the senior managers do ensure that their staff are supported in doing that. This nurturing environment is perfect for anyone who is looking to take the first or next step within their research career. I am very proud to work for the NIHR.

“I began my research career in 2016 after being encouraged by my sister who was working in research herself. I joined the Medical Research Council’s Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit in Southampton as a research midwife; the role gave me a good grounding in the principles of research and it developed my passion for the delivery of research. I love having the opportunity to draw on all of my midwifery experience to recruit and support pregnant women through the research process. It is exciting to know that you are contributing to the development of future care.”

Rebecca’s role involves recruiting participants to clinical trials. She helps to identify those who are eligible for the study; explains the process to people; ensures that all volunteers give informed consent; and monitors people for side effects throughout the trial.

CRN South London’s Workforce Development Lead Nhlanhla Mguni said: “Many healthcare professionals say they find the experience of being involved in research studies positive and rewarding.

“As a Network, we are proud to play our part in supporting vital research that improves patient care, and I’d also like to encourage others to consider a career within the NIHR.”

The Your Path in Research campaign gives healthcare professionals the opportunity to learn more about research that can impact their day-to-day work, by highlighting a variety of ways they can take their first, or next step in their research career.

More information about the Your Path in Research campaign can be found on the NIHR’s website. If you are a midwife who has questions about research in south London, please contact the national NIHR Research Midwives’ Champions group directly via rhcnrchampions@nihr.ac.uk.