After a three-year break due to the pandemic, Emma Willis returns to life as a Maternity Care Assistant at The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Essex. Her work here sees her living out her childhood dream, following in her mum’s footsteps who also worked as an MCA.
Alongside colleagues old and new, Emma will work up to 40 hours a week. MCA’s have a multi-skilled role, so Emma will be assisting in high-risk caesareans, vaginal births and working on the antenatal and postnatal wards to care for new Mums and their babies.
With a national shortage of midwives, Emma’s role on the maternity ward is more vital than ever. Over a period of four months, Emma will take part in a national upskilling programme designed to give MCAs more responsibility and take the pressure off hard-working midwives. The role will see her learning how to carry out observations on unwell babies and safely discharge women from hospital. Emma will also, for the first time, work independently in the community visiting new Mum’s in their homes.
It’s great to have Delivering Babies back for a third series. How did you feel when you first stepped back into The Princess Alexandra Hospital?
It felt incredible to step back onto the ward but it was also really overwhelming and emotional because it really hit me just what the team have been through over the last couple of years. Overall though, I felt a mix of excitement and nervousness, because I didn’t really know what I was getting into.
What can viewers expect this time around?
They can expect loads more gorgeous babies! I also do a whole load of learning. This time we brushed up on the MCA (Maternity Care Assistant) qualification that I’ve got, so I could go back on the ward and work, but we’ve also been working towards a level 3 which is adding a brand-new skillset. I’m taking on an extra workload this time which is really exciting.
What were you most nervous about doing after such a long time away from the hospital?
I was most nervous about doing the job! It had been three years and I thought that I would have forgotten absolutely everything. In the first week or so when I went back, I literally couldn’t even get a thermometer under a tongue, I was all fingers and thumbs. Imposter syndrome kicked in a little but within a couple of weeks, after a lot of handholding and people pushing me to do things that I could quite clearly do but didn’t believe I could, I was back into my stride and felt comfortable again.
What advice would you give to anyone about to give birth?
It’s great to have a plan but I think the best plan to have is just to be adaptable. Always expect the unexpected!
Were there any funny moments that you could tell us about?
On my last week, I don’t know why but Debbie, who is the nursery nurse there, one of the midwives and Molly decided that they needed to send me off with a bit of a giggle. It was on a quiet day, which is very rare, and I was told that a new mum had just come into the post-natal ward, and I needed to go in and see her. When I walked in, I saw Debbie dressed in a gown, with two knitted breasts attached to her, two babies and a mop on her head as her hair. One baby was called Moet and the other was called Chandon and she said she needed help with breastfeeding. I was like, what! It felt like I was in the twilight zone or something.
Can you sum up this series in three words?
Reunited at last!
Delivering Babies starts September 22 on W
*Image credit ©UKTV/Firecracker Films/Sarah Brick