Maddy Taggart returned to the Isle of Man in 2020 to become a midwife, after studying midwifery at the University of Surrey.
I grew up on the Island, and after school, worked as a midwifery care assistant at Nobles Hospital for a couple of years before moving to Surrey to study towards a Bachelor of Sciences in Midwifery.
I wanted to return to the Island after my studies to be closer to my family and friends. Having worked at the Jane Crookall Maternity Ward previously, I knew that I would be well supported, and be given plenty of development opportunities during my first-year preceptorship.
In my final year I was nominated for the Royal College of Midwives ‘Student Midwife of the Year Award’ 2020, which led to many jobs offers in and around London, but I had my heart set on returning home.
In early 2020 I reached out to Manx Care about returning post-study - and I was successfully recruited into the team later that year. The role came with a great relocation package, which funded my travel and removal costs up to the value of £7,000, and provided housing assistance post-move, with Manx Care contributing £250 a month towards my rent for the first two years. I was also offered a relocation incentive, which included an additional £1,000 in my first, 13th and 24th pay checks. After my first year I was also given a refund on my national insurance contributions.
A Wealth Of Training And Development Opportunities At Your Fingertips
Since joining Manx Care, I’ve been presented with many training and development opportunities, including an intensive week induction with a group of other recruits. We continue to meet as a group monthly, and this acts as a great support network and safe space to talk with professionals working in a similar environment. I was matched with a qualified midwife that I shadowed and who acted a mentor in my first month or so – this meant I wasn’t thrown in the deep end, and it really allowed me to build up my confidence. I was also offered additional training in areas such as ‘scrubbing’ – something my UK contemporaries don’t have the opportunity to do.
Due to the size of the team and the maternity ward here, you are required to take on a lot of responsibilities across many areas. This means the role is really varied, and I’ve learnt an awful lot in a short space of time. So much so, that I completed my preceptorship competencies within seven months and moved from a Band 5 to a Band 6 grade much quicker than my UK counterparts, where it typically takes a year.
The maternity department encourage development and further education, with several of my colleagues studying towards Masters, or looking to specialise in certain areas. If you show an interest in an area and voice it to management, they will listen as it’s such as flexible working environment. I shadowed a perinatal mental health midwife based in the community, whom is about to go on maternity leave, and I have been offered the chance to cover her position for a day a week while she is on leave.
The pay here is significantly more than in the UK as well, as is the career progression.
One thing is certain, my working environment is nothing like the UK’s NHS - it is far less stressful!
The continuity of care at the maternity ward here is second to none – in the Isle of Man, you meet the mother at her induction, and stay with her throughout the entire process, even up to post-natal care. This means we must keep at the top of our game all the time, ensuring our care is always of a high standard. We have to cross-skill across multiple areas, whether that’s triage or post-natal, which means we are agile and constantly developing – it also makes the job incredibly satisfying. Typically, in the UK, midwives would be positioned on one ward over a three to six month period, and then rotated off. Here – we see it all, everyday! This means we are a close-knit team as well, and regularly socialise outside of work.
I love going out for walks in the countryside which is just on our doorstep here. On my day off I will take a long walk, which allows me to switch off. What I love it that I can be in the middle of nowhere one minute, but then in a vibrant town bustling with people the next! There is certainly a great community feel on the Isle of Man as well, something you don’t really get away.