Our annual National Student Midwife Debate took place on 4 November to debate the motion: ‘This house believes that the diminishing ‘normal birth’ rate is a threat to the midwifery profession’.
The debate was organised in conjunction with the six education bodies that provide midwifery education leading to registration with NMBI in Ireland, with this year’s event hosted by University College Cork.
Over 90 guests attended in person, and more than 250 logged in to watch the online live stream.
Debating for the motion were Nadia Hutton representing Trinity College Dublin, Laura O’Sullivan representing University College Cork and Claudia Donnelly representing Dundalk Institute of Technology debating for the motion. Debating against the motion were Khayla Timothy representing University of Limerick, Lia Kehoe representing University College Dublin and Hannah Flaherty representing University of Galway.
Pictured (L to R): Against the motion - Khayla Timothy, UL; Hannah Flaherty, UG and Lia Kehoe, UCD
Pictured (L to R): For the motion - Nadia Hutton, TCD; Claudia Donnelly, DKIT and Laura O’Sullivan, UCC
Khayla Timothy, from Galway, who is a third year student midwifery at University of Limerick won the prize for best speaker at the debate.
Pictured (L to R): NMBI President, Essene Cassidy; Khayla Timmons, winning speaker, UL and NMBI CEO, Sheila McClelland
Speaking after the event, President of the NMBI, Essene Cassidy, said: “This annual debate gives students an excellent opportunity to broaden their knowledge and understanding of the profession and inspire new thinking around topics relating to midwifery. Midwives play an instrumental role in supporting, monitoring and encouraging women and their families at all stages of a woman’s pregnancy, labour and birth, and during the postnatal period. Debating skills are essential in advocating for the best care at all these stages of care.
“This year’s event was a lively and engaging debate and the speakers were a credit to their team and their education bodies. They showed conviction and passion. I would particularly like to congratulate the winning student, Khayla Timothy who passionately argued against the motion.”
Fran McConville, Midwifery Advisor to the World Health Organization, joined the event via video stream to thank the debaters for their robust arguments. She shared her insights into how the midwifery profession will be critical in the 21st century.
Sarah Benson, Chairperson of Women’s Aid, provided an overview of domestic violence in Ireland and how it can be identified in maternity settings.
Attendees also heard from Sheila McClelland, CEO of NMBI; Dawn Johnston, Director of Midwifery at NMBI and Dr Geri McLoughlin, Midwife Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC.
Pictured (L to R): Dr Geri McLoughlin, Midwife Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC; Khayla Timmons, winning speaker, UL and Dawn Johnston, Director of Midwifery, NMBI
This year’s judging panel included Denise Lawler, Chair of the NMBI Midwives Committee; Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid Ireland and Mary Higgins, retired midwife and former Board Member of the International Confederation of Midwives.
You can watch the debate in full here.