Have a stretch... and get on the bus! Join #MatExpOnTour!

Don't be sheepish...

What? Who? Where we going? πŸ‘€

#MatExp (Twitter hashtag) is an amazing change platform enabling people to come together to improve maternity services

It is wild and wacky and wonderful. πŸ’œπŸŒŸπŸ’₯πŸš€ Because people just do stuff. Without asking permission. They JFDI. πŸ™‹πŸ»πŸ‘€

So on 1 November Helen @heartmummy announced that we were going on tour. 🚎 As you do. So we have all been sharing where we are and what we are up to. πŸ™‹πŸ»

Helen @heartmummy is on the right. She and Emma are adding some artwork to the balloons we nicked from the national maternity review.

For example, last week I ran a #MatExp Whose Shoes workshop in Durham. People interested in maternity services came together from across the north of England. It was a taster session but we got some good conversations going

As a cricket fan, I was very excited by the venue. Durham County Cricket club! It was a good job it was November otherwise I might have been distracted…

And Caroline Brown recorded some of the key issues

But the emphasis is always on helping people think through what they can actually DO about it and forming collaborative networks

And this week I went to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Conference. And that is what I really want to tell you about.

This was the first RCM conference I have ever attended and I was really impressed by the passion, commitment and friendship.

I had to get there early as I was exhibiting at the event. I had been invited by NHS England to showcase the maternity version of Whose Shoes? on their stand πŸ™‹πŸ» How good is thatπŸ˜ƒ?

I rocked up with my pal Jenny, who is one of the most passionate midwives you could ever meet. And of course I was wearing my #MatExp necklace that #FabObs Flo gave me.

It was all hands on deck to set up the stand.

Sadly the bunting had to to be taken down as it was in danger of melting 😱. Whose Shoes? aims to start some fires by spreading good practice across the country – not literally πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯‼️ #eek πŸ‘€

But it added a bit of colour to the display. As did the #MatExp stickers πŸ˜‰

On our stand we also showcased the important work being done with mums with learning disabilities. Catherine (on the left) led the way.

And the 6Cs! Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment!

And cake!

Who said that⁉️

Another really popular resource was Jenny's fab skin to skin poster.

We were so busy on the stand that I didn't even get a chance to go and see Jenny do her fabulous #SkintoSkin rap. Luckily she had given me a preview the night before πŸ‘πŸ½

In fact I hardly saw anything of the conference itself, although I was generously invited to. It was just too busy on the stand! 😳

It was great to see so many of my Twitter pals - and get the chance to show Whose Shoes? to people who hadn't seen it before.

And tell them about the Whose Shoes? workshops we have held in London… and beyond!

Our stand was strategically placed. Near the food πŸ‘€ And we had loads of interest.

Ann is interested in introducing #MatExp #WhoseShoes to the Southwest region.

And Karen and Norma are hoping it can contribute to their work in Worcester

This is Bal who came to the very first Whose Shoes? maternity workshop - the brainchild of #FabObs Flo aka Florence Wilcock - at Kingston Hospital.

I was pleased to get the chance to congratulate Bal on the wonderful graffiti board she has introduced (personal pledge at the Kingston workshop) for parents to give feedback – and have a bit of fun too! πŸ’œπŸ‘ΆπŸΌπŸ’œ

Fab midwives from Kingston Hospital!

I always love chatting to students, feeling their curiosity, passion for learning ... and fresh eyes!

And it was particularly good to catch up with other people who have hosted Whose Shoes? workshops. This is Hazel from Guernsey!

Hazel said that the work with #MatExp WhoseShoes? in Guernsey - and all the action that has resulted from it – has impressed the inspectors!

I wrote a Steller story about my fab trip to Guernsey. But that is another story. πŸ˜‚

And through Twitter networks such as #MatExp we can bring fabulous people together and build the community for positive change. Was thrilled to see this photo of Hazel and Jenny!

And as I looked round the RCM exhibition I was delighted to find the Pinter and Martin stand – with loads of copies of Roar Behind the Silence, 'our book'! Sheena Byrom had kindly invited me to write a chapter about the Whose Shoes? concept and it was exciting to see people reading it.

Here we are ROARing! πŸ‘€

I was also delighted to spot Hannah Tizard's fab poster promoting optimal cord clamping. Hannah is a wonderful student midwife

So it felt very appropriate that I found a gang of student midwives having their lunch next to the poster and was able to tell them the story πŸ˜ƒ

There was a fantastic climate of learning and sharing

Including a #MatExp cake! 🍰🍰🍰 Thank you Sally! 😘

I finally met Anna Byrom, Editor of Practising Midwife. Look forward to writing for this publication and encouraging other #MatExp contributors!

It was lovely to see people connecting - old friends and new

And soon it was time to go with bags and bags of learning

So it was the end of the day. But only a step along the way for #MatExp. πŸ‘£πŸ‘£

#MatExp is fun

Join us!

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  • PippaKelly

    Brilliant! You work so hard Gill and always manage to make it look like so much fun. Genius x

  • WhoseShoes

    That is such a lovely comment Pippa. I really love doing Steller stories - they are fun and creative and a vast audience seems to appear from nowhere! πŸ‘€ xx


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