Guy's and St Thomas' midwife honoured with prestigious gold award

Monday 10 June 2019

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Mary Sheridan, Maxine Spencer

A midwife from Guy’s and St Thomas’ is one of the first people in England to receive the Chief Midwifery Officer’s gold award.

Mary Sheridan was recognised for her outstanding contribution to both clinical practice and research, having been a midwife at Guy’s and St Thomas’ for 30 years and a lecturer at King’s College London for 18 years.

The Chief Midwifery Officer silver and gold awards recognise and celebrate midwives who go above and beyond their roles providing excellent care, leadership and inspiration every day to their colleagues, women and families regardless of their position or band.

Maxine Spencer, Directory of Midwifery at Guy’s and St Thomas’ who nominated Mary for the gold award, said: “Mary is truly one of a kind and her passion and drive means she is an excellent role model for others.

“She is a fantastic example of someone who has been able to bridge the gap between academia and clinical practice, with a successful career in both.”

Since 2011, Mary has been the lead midwife for the Newborn and Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) programme at St Thomas’ Hospital, which screens babies within 72 hours of birth for conditions relating to their heart, hips, eyes and testes. She worked with Public Health England to introduce the NIPE Smart System, which was piloted at St Thomas’ Hospital and then rolled out nationally.

Mary will be presenting findings from her PhD study, ‘Think Breech’, at the 14th International Normal Labour and Birth Research Conference later this month.

It adds to an impressive list including presenting at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists World Congress in Birmingham 2016, and the International Confederation of Midwives Conference in Toronto 2017.

Mary said: “Receiving the award was a complete surprise. I’m lucky to work with a great team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London.”

England’s first Chief Midwifery Officer, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, presented the gold award to Mary during a visit to St Thomas’ Hospital to find out how the Trust achieved full Unicef UK Baby Friendly accreditation.

The new NHS Long Term Plan recommends Unicef UK Baby Friendly accreditation across all maternity services. The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by Unicef and the World Health Organisation, works with UK public services to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding in order to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships.

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief Midwifery Officer for England, said: “Presenting this award to Mary recognises the outstanding contribution that she has made to the midwifery profession, maternity services and ultimately the lives of women and babies. It was an absolute privilege to honour her in this way.”

Last updated: June 2019

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