Dr Ruth Deery
Current role: Professor of Maternal Health. This is a joint appointment with the University of the West of Scotland and NHS Ayrshire & Arran.
Background: I have been a midwife for 35 years and consider myself a clinical academic because I still practise midwifery. I was an award holder, Leading Practice through Research, Developing Leaders for the Health Foundation from 2006-2008. I am also a Member of the Royal College of Midwives and Trustee to the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust.
What my current role involves: Promoting and nurturing research in NHS Ayrshire & Arran and the university. I am currently instigating a Parent and Infant Research Unit with another academic colleague. I supervise a number of PhD and Master’s students nurturing these research students to have confidence in their abilities, to work across professional boundaries and most importantly, to complete their research. I also support and encourage nursing and midwifery colleagues to publish and apply for grants.
Clinical academic interests: My research and clinical work engages strategically on organisational and cultural challenges within midwifery, working to improve the quality of healthcare. I have led funded action research projects that have helped clinical midwives to initiate and develop midwife-led care/birth centres. Much of my research and writing is transferable to other professions. I recognise that it is crucial to work collaboratively; academically, clinically and also when undertaking research. I am known for working across professional boundaries especially within mental health settings. I hold close links with sociologists and psychologists.
Research interests: My key interest at doctoral level was in midwives’ support needs and applying sociological theory and an action research approach to the organisational culture of midwifery in the National Health Service in England. Since then my main work has been on the maternity services and women’s health, with particular interests in service change, public policy and patient safety. I am especially interested in women’s experiences of childbirth and midwives’ experiences of the organisation of maternity care. I am also developing research in the area of critical obesity and emotion work.
Motivations for mentoring: I have been fortunate enough to have mentored a number of clinical midwives and academics. Developing effective relationships with people has been key to my academic and clinical work, as well as my research. Some of my main strengths are that as a person I am approachable, open-minded, honest and empathic.
Mentoring style and approach: My mentoring style is one of supporting and nurturing individuals and I know encouragement and praise are essential to getting the best out of people. I am happy to go with whatever the mentee feels most appropriate. If they seem unsure then I can provide mentoring in their workplace initially, meeting their work colleagues if they so wish. More experienced professionals are likely to have more specific needs but this is not always the case. I have mentored senior clinicians by telephone, only meeting face-to-face when they have indicated a desire to do so. I am always flexible and continue to learn from my mentees so I remain open to their needs. I have engaged in a number of courses that have been pertinent to my development e.g. Counselling Skills, a Therapeutic Group Work Course and coaching. I also reflect on my clinical practice casework scenarios with a supervisor of midwives and encourage mentees to do this where appropriate and if necessary.