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Taekwondo champion Rebecca Louise El Boukili, a 34-year-old mother-of-one from Bromborough, Wirral, graduates in November after completing a Midwifery degree course.

She said: “I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in healthcare and after travelling the world for 10 years, I became passionate about care for women generally, and particularly midwifery. I love that it focuses on empowering women and giving them the tools to care for their own and their babies’ health.”

Throughout her three-year course, Rebecca has combined her studies and work placements at Wirral University Teaching Hospital with looking after her family – and has enjoyed maintaining the fitness she gained as a professional dancer.  

“I took-up Taekwondo as a fun hobby with my sisters and loved it, competing in many competitions. As I was competing at international level, I won the University’s Mission Award during my first year, which funded my training and competition entries.”

Rebecca won gold medals in the British, English and Welsh championships and a silver at the World Championships in 2016.

She was awarded help from the Chester Employability Fund, and won two University Valedictory Awards for excellence in clinical practice and demonstrating particular impact on practice development. She was also a finalist in the Student Nursing Times Student Midwife of the Year, 2019, and honoured to be the first student midwife to receive the Chief Midwifery Officer’s Award for Midwifery Excellence.

Rebecca’s creative approach to spreading the word about safe ante and postnatal practices saw her write a poem to encourage women to breastfeed, which is on the wall at Arrowe Park Hospital and has been accepted for publication by Midwifery Matters magazine, a national journal. She designed a leaflet with important information for new mothers on the maternity ward about safe sleep and distributed posters in different languages on the subject of ‘movement matters’ – to raise awareness among women who do not speak English about the importance of monitoring movement during pregnancy.

She also arranged a collection of baby and maternity clothes and equipment for refugees in Liverpool.  Rebecca said: “I had an amazing response and was able to deliver three carloads to the refugee centre. It was fantastic to see how needed and appreciated the donations were.”

Rebecca’s tutor, Jo Bates, Senior Lecturer at the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care (Midwifery, Child and Reproductive Health), said: “All these initiatives, along with many others that aren’t mentioned here, give a snapshot of how motivated Rebecca is to women and midwifery.  She is an excellent student and an exceptional young woman and midwife, of whom we are very proud.”

Rebecca says that in future, she wants to set-up a drop-in midwife clinic at a refugee centre. “There is so much support and encouragement available to students at the University of Chester.

“All the opportunities I’ve had have not only enhanced my life, but my employability, too.”

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