At MSI Reproductive Choices UK, we love hearing from our colleagues about their passion for providing essential healthcare services, and ensuring that people across England can exercise their sexual and reproductive rights.
We interviewed Grace Louisa Ash – Practice Development and Advocacy Midwife – about her work providing personal and professional support to our midwives across the country, facilitating the empowerment of our colleagues.
“I have never felt more like a midwife than I do in this role.”
How and why did you start working for MSI Reproductive Choices UK?
At the beginning of my career, I spent a year as an NHS midwife in maternity services. I then found abortion care. I felt quite passionate about being one of the people who supported the service and its clients in the face of adversity. I came to MSI because I wanted to work somewhere that I found fulfilling, as a midwife and as a member of society, ensuring people are getting equal care.
Can you tell us more about your brand-new role as Practice Development and Advocacy Midwife and how it came about?
Across the healthcare system, the retention of nurses and midwives is poor. As a result, the NHS recently developed a new model called the A-EQUIP midwifery supervision model – to support the advocacy role of the midwife, support professional resilience and support midwives to provide high quality care and identify areas for improvement. At MSI, my role is to provide one-to-one clinical supervision support to all clinical staff across the organisation whilst also playing a key role in delivering training. This means supporting nurses and midwives, looking after their wellbeing, in addition to delivering training to aid their professional development.
A huge part of my role is facilitating the empowerment of all our colleagues. I am extremely privileged to be in this role because I get to travel and see every single nurse and midwife working in over 60 MSI Reproductive Choices clinics across England, providing them with both personal and professional support. I absolutely loved working as an MSI midwife, but when this role came up, I wanted to be able to support other midwives like myself and ensure they felt as happy as I did when I was at work. I love supporting the clients and I love supporting my colleagues – in this role, I get the best of both worlds.
What does a day in your life look like at MSI?
No day is the same, I could be supervising colleagues in-clinic or online, meeting new nurses and midwives or delivering a wide range of training to team members. I always get to see happy staff walk through the door which is nice because I know that their positivity will transfer into their work and will make all the difference to our clients.
What is your favourite part of the job?
I really love both sides of my job – both the clinical side, and the practice
, development and advocacy side. It is an immense privilege to work amongst strong-willed, pro-choice, energetic and caring nurses and midwives. The resilience that they demonstrate on a day-to-day basis is absolutely incredible. I also love being face-to-face with clients – listening to their stories, how they came to find MSI and supporting them at a critical moment of their life. I also love being able to support all of our team, through professional development and improving their working life.
Why are you proud of the work that you do?
Why wouldn’t you be?
I feel so incredibly proud to do the work that we do because when you look at the inequalities in access to abortion care across the world, you realise how incredibly lucky we are to be able to provide this service to our clients. I am so proud to be a part of a client’s journey and support them in that. Some of our clients don’t have anybody else, somebody to go home to, somebody to talk to and share their worries with, and to be that person and advocate for them gives me an immense sense of pride.
What do you want others to know about being a midwife for an abortion provider?
I have never felt more like a midwife than I do in this role. I speak to my friends in the NHS who are fascinated that there are career routes like this one. If people want to join MSI, I couldn’t recommend the service enough. It was the best thing I ever did and the best thing I’ll ever do in my career.
There’s also a misunderstanding as to what work midwives can do. When I’m talking to clients in clinics, they’re often surprised that we are midwives working in abortion care. I explain that midwife means “with women” and what my role means, and then they start to make sense of what I do. It’s really important that people know the big part that midwifes play in providing abortion care. It also breaks my heart when clients say to me that they are surprised I was so nice. Before they have stepped through that door, they already feel judged.
We are here for you and will never judge you.
Thank you to our frontline colleagues for your bravery, your sacrifices and your unflagging compassion.
Read more from our colleagues
At MSI UK, we love interviewing our colleagues to find out more about their work and how their roles contribute to our mission to deliver quality reproductive healthcare. Below, you can read some of our latest interviews:
- “If it’s your body, it’s your choice” – Interview with Stephanie Pérez, Regional General Manager in Sussex, about how she supports our clients within her role.
- “All I have ever wanted to do is help, so to be able to help someone in their decision makes me proud every day and that will never change.” – Interview with Angela Gale, Registered Midwife at our Maidstone clinic, about why she is proud to be a midwife in abortion care.
- “Why making a difference is a real privilege” – Interview with Ailish McEntee, MSI UK Named Midwife for Safeguarding Adults and Children, about safeguarding at MSI UK, and how we care for and support our clients.
- “Being a part of MSI and helping so many people access care feels amazing.” – Interview with Sarah Salkeld, Associate Clinical Director at MSI UK, about contraception services at MSI UK, and the importance of having the choice to access contraception.
- “We are here to help empower people to make the decision that is right for them.” – Interview with Ben Tallis, Client Care Coordinator at our National Call Centre in Bristol, about supporting the clients who get in touch with our call centre from all over England.
- “I’ve never felt more like a midwife than I do here” – Interview with Giselle Barnes, Clinical Services Matron at our Bristol clinic, about what being a midwife in abortion care means to her.
Careers at MSI Reproductive Choices UK
At MSI Reproductive Choices, we are looking for pro-choice and passionate professionals to join us in our mission.
MSI Reproductive Choices employs over 500 people in the United Kingdom alone, all of whom are dedicated to delivering the highest quality abortion and vasectomy care.
We know that our most valuable assets are the people that work for us. By joining MSI Reproductive Choices, you’ll become part of a committed team that work to make sure we provide the best possible care and support to our clients.
If you are interested in a career at MSI UK, find our current open positions here: Join Our Team