What is the role of a midwife?

The role of a midwife is to provide maternity care and support for women and families during all stages of pregnancy and labour. Midwives work closely with women to ensure their preferences, decisions and views are considered during this momentous life event. 

Within this blog, we have taken a close look at the daily duties of a midwife, the skills and qualities needed within the profession along with frequently asked questions about the role. We have also outlined the agency midwife placements currently available with Thornbury Nursing, so you can see the opportunities available to you here.   

What does a midwife do?

As part of your role as a midwife, you will typically carry out the following duties:  

  • Monitoring and examining women during pregnancy  
  • Providing full antenatal care, including screening tests, examinations, and parenting classes 
  • Identifying high-risk pregnancies  
  • Monitoring and supporting women throughout labour 
  • Organising and providing education and information around parenting, health and wellbeing 
  • Providing support and guidance on the daily care of a baby 
  • Offering support and advice in cases of termination, miscarriage, neonatal abnormalities or neonatal death
  • Liaising with other healthcare professionals and agencies for continuity of care 

Where can midwives work?

As a midwife, you can work in a number of different settings. These include:  

  • Hospitals (NHS and private) 
  • Birth centres 
  • GP surgeries 
  • Local clinics 
  • Community settings (e.g. home visits) 

Midwives in agency roles can work and gain experience in a variety of settings. This can be particularly beneficial if you are looking to grow and develop, or if you are wanting to broaden your skill set.   

What skills and qualities do I need to be a great midwife?

In a midwife role, it is important to have the following skills and qualities. A great midwife will be: 

  • Compassionate and caring  
  • Understanding and empathetic
  • Desire to help others 
  • Strong interpersonal skills 
  • Emotional strength 
  • Patience 
  • Ability to remain calm in stressful situations  
  • Good listener 

If you choose to work with an agency, it’s also important to be flexible and adaptable to new environments and work schedules. As an agency midwife, you’ll regularly be working in different settings with different people, sometimes at short notice, which can bring plenty of variety and exciting new challenges to your role.   

Midwife FAQs

Is a midwife a nurse?

Midwives and nurses have overlapping qualities and skills, but they are distinct professions that require unique training and education.  

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the official regulator for both professions in the UK, however the requirements for each path can vary.  

A nurse can register and specialise in multiple medical areas, while the role of a midwife focuses solely on labour, delivery and postnatal care for mother and baby.  

Interested in joining us?

Find out more about what is needed to join us. Browse the specialisms that we’re currently recruiting for at Thornbury.

What qualifications do you need to become a midwife?

To become a midwife, you must successfully complete a midwifery programme of education and be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Entry to midwifery programmes are highly competitive. High grades at A-level or equivalent at level 3 are needed, along with supporting GCSEs.    

Full-time courses usually take a minimum of three years to complete, and training takes place at NMC-approved educational institutions. You can choose to study midwifery as an undergraduate or postgraduate degree or complete a degree apprenticeship.   

If you are already qualified as a nurse, you can take a shortened midwifery training program registered with the NMC.   

Learn more about the midwifery requirements to work with Thornbury Nursing Services.  

Do midwives work weekends?

Yes – in a full-time role as a midwife, it’s likely you’ll be required to work some weekends and bank holidays, as well as a mixture of day and night shifts.  

However, there are also part-time and flexible work opportunities available for midwives through agencies. Agency midwives have greater control over their own schedules. For example, midwives who take on agency roles with Thornbury Nursing can choose which days they would like to work. This allows for a greater work-life balance.  

How much do midwives get paid?

In the NHS, a midwife’s salary is determined by a banded pay scale called Agenda for Change. The Agenda for Change pay rates for 2023/24 are: 

Starting hourly rate 

Band 5
Starting band for midwives

Band 6
After being qualified for some time, midwives move to band 6 

Band 7
Midwives in a management position or working at a more senior level 

Band 8
Midwives at consulting level 





Starting hourly rate 

Band 5
Starting band for midwives

Band 6
After being qualified for some time, midwives move to band 6 

Band 7
Midwives in a management position or working at a more senior level 

Band 8
Midwives at consulting level 





Agency pay rates for midwives tend to be significantly higher. For example, midwives can earn up to £54.50/hour with Thornbury Nursing (plus more on Bank Holidays). This is in recognition of the high level of skill, experience, commitment and flexibility it takes to be an agency nurse. Learn more about the hourly rates of pay for agency midwives working with Thornbury Nursing Services here.

Midwife roles with Thornbury Nursing Services

Here at Thornbury Nursing Services, we require midwives for last-minute placements in the NHS and private hospitals across England and Wales.   

You’ll need to work to our high standards and, in return, you’ll receive full professional support and excellent pay rates from us, as well as your NMC fees covered.   
If you’re a qualified midwife seeking roles across England and Wales, register online with us today. 

Register with Thornbury

We are looking for exceptional nurses and midwives to join our team. Register with Thornbury to access high rates of pay, paid mileage and support with revalidation.

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