Get to know our Nursing team- Miriam Coffie

As part of the Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020, we will be profiling some of our Nursing Team, and nurses and midwives from the Midlands region throughout the year.

This week, you can find out more about Miriam Coffie, Head of Nursing Professional Standards in the Midlands.

On a typical day

I tend to work flexibly across the Midlands but like to start my day by 0900. I have just started my role so there no such thing as a typical day! I’m currently learning as much as possible about the wonderful Complaints teams across the 3 Midlands localities- we will be working towards a single team and approach in the coming weeks.

I’m also in the midst of recruiting to new roles in the other section of my team responsible for regional delivery of the Chief Nursing Officer’s priorities around workforce, volunteers, carers, leadership and equalities. This is a brand-new team for our directorate so again, lots to learn, lots to achieve!

Tell us how you have made a difference as a nurse or midwife

I was a midwife, health visitor & 0-19 clinical lead all before I joined a PCT project looking at reducing elective care variation. Every day since qualification back in 2002, I have used my clinical knowledge and skills to help get the best possible outcomes for staff and patients alike. Having a clinical background was vital in how I managed to communicate and engage with GPs at a time of huge uncertainty for them (the advent of clinical commissioning). After some years of not practising midwifery I was proud to undertake my return to practice course last year – a real pleasure to have been back on the frontline with patients, their carers and families. I was a bit rusty but it did eventually all come back to me!

What inspired you to go into nursing/midwifery? What would you say to a young person interested in a career in nursing & midwifery?

One of my earliest memories is being treated  to a toy nurse kit- complete with a hat, cape and stethoscope. I was so pleased with my uniform but even happier I was being allowed to go home from Great Ormond Street Hospital. I had been away from family for 2 weeks with double bacterial pneumonia after being blue lighted to the hospital from an isolation ward in the children’s annex of my local hospital. I don’t remember much about my stay but I do know my parents were overjoyed at my recovery and the care the nurses and doctors showed us all.  ​​​​​​​

I never intended being a midwife or even working in the NHS (you might think that odd given an early fascination with the uniform!).

But settled on a career in law, at 18 I had a place to read law at university. I decided to take a gap year, so moved to London and worked for the London Underground Ltd- I was the person on the station shouting “Eastbound central line train!”.

During this year I became pregnant and moved back home to my parents. It was during my pregnancy, my wonderful and nurturing community midwife, Ingrid suggested that I consider Midwifery as a career. She put me in touch with her 2nd year midwifery student who gave me the lowdown (yes it was hard work but worth it) and I applied as soon as my son was born. I was fortunate enough to have amazing parents, a nursery next to our house and the non-means tested bursary which allowed me the opportunity to study and care for my son.

I would say to any young person “the NHS is an amazing place to work and if you want, it will provide you with every opportunity you need to develop and thrive in your career”. I have had 4 careers in the NHS- midwife, health visitor, commissioner and now my current role leading professional standards…you just don’t get that kind of variety in most jobs!

Are there any good nursing/midwifery projects/ innovations happening in your organisation or region that you’d like to share?

Too many to mention but recently I have been involved in Better Births Maternity Transformation- shaping the way in which maternity services are delivered making them more person-centred and offering more continuity of care. Maternity services span midwifery and health visiting so this programme is particularly important to me. Also, the General Practice Nursing 10 Point Plan. I worked closely with a colleague in HEE to deliver innovative new programme of Practice Nursing recruitment across 2 areas in East Midlands- so successful it has just been expanded to the West.

Finally. I’m leading on #YearoftheNurseandMidwife so if you have any ideas of how we can celebrate nursing and midwifery or if you would like to get involved in any planning let me know- I will be badgering people about events to take part in like Park Runs, 10Ks across the region and the possibility of a Snowdon hiking adventure!

Are you involved in the Inspiring the Future programme? 

I have just signed up to be a nurse/midwife ambassador so I can go into schools to “inspire the future”, This is something we will be promoting far more across the region so if you haven’t done so sign up now as a Nurse Ambassador

Tell us your funniest or amusing work-related story or anecdote / most memorable moment

Probably as a young student midwife, being asked to “pop into a delivery room” to help a woman who wanted to change position. Just as we were mobilising her waters proceeded to break and cover me head to toe (you would be amazed at the velocity and volume…) Neither funny or amusing to me but my colleagues couldn’t stop laughing….