Yana Richens - Consultant Midwife

Yana Richens OBE RN, RM, BSc, MSc, MPhil Hon Doctorate

Consultant Midwife Professional Global Consultant Royal College of Midwives

What was the first ever piece of research you were involved in?
The first research I undertook was examining the differences between NHS parent-education classes and those which are run privately. This was in the 80's and really made me think hard about inequalities in health and how education can make a difference to lives of families. I was then awarded the first midwifery Mary Seacole Fellowship in 2003, this was an amazing opportunity. I looked at the maternity experiences of non-english speaking Pakistani women in the UK.

Was it ever published?
No, my first degree work wasn't but it was used locally to design future parent-education classes. I believe passionately about publishing research findings. I care much more about getting evidence into practice and demonstrating improvements in the care of women and families. Although all of my other research has been published.

What attracted you to research in the first place?
After undertaking my first research project it became clear that research is the vehicle for implementing change, and I became a convert for evidence based practice.

What is your main research focus now?
I am very fortunate to have been awarded a Clinical Academic Training Fellowship which is allowing me to undertake a full-time PhD which is amazing. The focus of my research is Fear of Birth using a mixed methods approach.

What would be your top tip for a novice researcher?
My top tip would be never be scared to admit that you do not understand a piece of research. To be honest I still read some papers which I cannot fathom. The key is to remember why you came into nursing and midwifery. The rest will follow.

What one resource as a researcher could you not be without?
My small hand held tape recorder, I meet so many interesting people and go to conferences which are so informative but also have a shocking memory.

Have you ever had a role model and if so who is it?
I have been very fortunate to have an inspirational mentor in Professor Beverley Malone when she was the CEO of the Royal College of Nurses, she really challenged my way of thinking about research and clinical practice. My midwifery role model is Professor Dame Tina Lavender who is amazing, she has the ability to interpret the most complex piece of evidence into an understandable format.