Explore UCD

UCD Home >

Alumni Story: An Interview with Clare Kennedy Registered Advanced Midwife Practitioner

Friday, 14 July, 2023

Alumni Story Clare Kennedy

Clare Kennedy is a Registered Advanced Midwife Practitioner (RAMP) and currently working in National Women’s and Infants Health Programme (NWIHP) as a Project Co-Ordinator for the implementation of the HSE Baby Friendly Initiative. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor, at the School of Nursing Midwifery and Health System in University College Dublin.

In 2003, she commenced her BSc Nursing in St Vincent’s University Hospital and University College Dublin. She completed her Higher Diploma in Midwifery with the National Maternity Hospital/ University College Dublin in 2009. From 2015- 2023, she has completed her MSc in Midwifery, Health Assessment, Midwife Prescribing, Obstetric Ultrasound, Examination of the Newborn and Project Management Diploma.

In the NWIHP Clare has also been Project Manager for the National All Ireland Midwifery Conference. She is the chair for the development of the National Midwifery Guidelines soon to be launched by NWIHP. She is also working for the development and support of Advanced Practice posts implemented by NWIHP.

What led you to study midwifery? 

I had trained initially as a nurse from 2003-2007 in St Vincent’s University Hospital and University College Dublin. During that time, I did a clinical placement in the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) Dublin. I fell in love immediately with Midwifery after seeing the amazing care midwives provided to women and their families during their hospital stay. I knew instantaneously that I wanted to be a midwife during this placement. I commenced my Midwifery training in UCD and NMH in 2009.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying midwifery? 

It is a fantastic career and so rewarding with so many career opportunities. There are now two training pathways into midwifery available in Ireland. There is a BSc Honours Bachelor Degree, which is a four-year course in conjunction with a training hospital. There are also places on this course for mature students, students that have completed the required pre-registration QQI FET training certificates or students who meet the criteria for the HEAR and DARE schemes. 

Also available is a Postgraduate Higher Diploma in Midwifery, which you can avail of if you have already trained as a nurse. This is an 18-month course also in conjunction with a training hospital.

I would recommend to link in with your career guidance counsellor if you are currently in second-level education. Also, I would recommend you look at the webpages of the six Higher education Institutes nationally that provide the midwifery training courses or the Nursing Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) webpage that provide more information on Midwifery as a career.

What is your fondest memory from your time at UCD? 

Our class graduation was such a special memory for me. The class had our hospital graduation and presenting of medals in the morning at our respective training hospitals. In the afternoon, we went to the university to O’Reilly Hall with our families and loved ones. The whole day was a celebration of our achievements over the last number of years. We had all become very close as a group as we had studied together but also worked together on clinical placements and our intern year. 

What is the proudest moment of your career to date? 

I was awarded the honour of ‘Midwife of the Year 2019’ by Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) after being nominated by my former colleagues on the Integrated Community Midwifery Service at St Luke’s General Hospital Kilkenny. It was a huge honour for me and definitely one of the proudest moments of my career to date as my peers had recognised the work I had accomplished as a midwife. 

What have been the most challenging aspects of your career?

Midwifery is very fast-paced and changeable, you have to adapt to every situation quickly but that is also very exciting and definitely never boring. At times unfortunately, you meet families that are experiencing huge loss and grief. However, even in these moments there is such a huge sense of pride in being a midwife as you can make such a difference to the lives of the people who you meet. 

Have you found midwifery practice to have changed much since you qualified?

I feel midwifery has certainly expanded its scope and autonomy even further since I qualified. There is certainly more options for career progression in the areas of management, clinical practice and academia. Higher Level Institutions are also providing really exciting postgraduate courses to assist midwives in developing themselves professionally even more.

Nationally midwives are also leading out on strategic and operational developments, which has been so exciting to see. These changes have been hugely supported by both the HSE and NMBI.

Has ongoing professional development helped your career?

I have undertaken a number of postgraduate courses since qualifying as a midwife. I registered as a Registered Advanced Midwife Practitioner (RAMP) in 2018 with NMBI a requirement of this role is having a level 9 qualification and other supporting clinical courses, which I completed. As a RAMP, you are the most senior Midwifery clinician within a maternity service or hospital this is a hugely responsible role but brings huge job satisfaction.

I also completed a Professional Diploma in Project Management at UCD Professional Academy, which has really opened new opportunities professionally for me. Completing these courses has given me to confidence and skills to progress further as a midwife and become a key member of the team in the National Women’s and Infant Health Programme. 

What are your aspirations for the midwifery profession going forward?

I see Midwifery expanding and integrating even further into the community setting in Ireland going forward. This integration will be supported by both the National Maternity Strategy (2016) and Sláintecare (2019) which both have the ethos of providing new models of care, which are woman and family-focused and strategically placed in the community setting for ease of access for pregnant women and their families to access.

Some examples of this work can already be seen by the NWIHP development and implementation of the Supported Care pathway nationally in Ireland. Supported Care pathway is lead and delivered by Midwives in Ireland. Examples of such services are the Integrated Community Midwifery services where care is provided to a woman by a team of midwives throughout a woman’s pregnancy journey. In addition, there are also the new postnatal hubs implemented by the NWIHH. These hubs are local centres where women can access various elements of their postnatal maternity care. I feel it is an exciting time to be a midwife working in Ireland with these new initiatives being implemented. 

In your career and/or personal life, who have been the most inspiring or helpful mentors/advisors that you’ve had to date?

I have been very fortunate to have met and worked with strong Midwifery role models throughout my career. During my time in UCD Dr Denise O’Brien Assistant Professor/Lecturer and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the School of Nursing Midwifery and Health Systems was so inspiring to me and continues to be. Dr O’Brien’s passion for midwifery is contagious and certainly helped me to gain the confidence to pursue Advanced Midwifery Practice and develop myself further as a midwife.

I also have to mention my current Midwifery manager Angela Dunne who is the National Lead Midwife National Women and Infants Health Programme (NWIHP). Angela’s current role as lead midwife for the National Women and Infants Health Programme is to strategically lead and support the development of the profession of midwifery and nursing in terms of the National Maternity Strategy 2016-2026 ‘Creating a Better Future’ implementation. This is a hugely important and influential role for midwifery nationally.

What do you do to relax? Tell us a bit about your current life, family and hobbies. 

I am a busy mom and wife but love every moment of it. It is wonderful to be able to show my children the value of academia, career development and a hard work ethic but also how valuable family is during this journey. They see my husband and me work as a team and as equal partners, which is so special. 

I am also part of our local community group in the village where I live this is really important to me and my family as I love giving back to the community that has given me and my family so much over the years.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? 

Never focus or dwell on the losses however you must realise there is learning in them too which makes you the person you are. Focus on the betterment of yourself and moving forward.

Contact the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems

Health Sciences Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4
T: +353 1 716 6488 | Location Map(opens in a new window)