So what’s it like to be student midwife? Especially when you are that little bit older, haven’t studied for a while and have a family and home and bills?
Well it’s not easy, some days it’s harder than others and you feel a little like you are half succeeding in every role rather than aceing any of them but at the end of those days it is worth it because you know that it will get better and the qualification is worth every difficult moment.
I’m into the second half term of my first year now and at my University the teaching is on an integrated placement basis. This means that from January I will be at University for one day a week and working in either community, midwife-led unit or delivery suite for 30 hours or so a week, every week.
At the moment, we are on an observational placement so we spend one day a week out with community midwives doing postnatal visits, antenatal clinics, booking appointments and for some of the girls they have been able to observe births already. It’s a chance to start really interacting with the women we will be caring for and despite the observational description our mentors have us getting hands on almost straight away.
We started this in mid October, so just 6 weeks into the degree, and we were out there in our uniforms as student midwives. On just my first postnatal visit ever my mentor midwife was already showing me how to feel the fundus height post birth and showing me the Newborn and Infant Postnatal Examination (NIPE) as well as how to recognise jaundice signs in a newborn and the advice given to parents to help the jaundice dissipate as quickly as possible. Then by the second placement day, just a week later I was measuring abdomens to check the growth rate, taking blood pressures (my mentor checked the first one, my reading was almost identical to hers so after that she just got me to do them), performing the urinalysis for the ladies, palpating the abdomen to locate the fetus, listening in with a pinard and also learnt how to use the Doppler and the difference between the placenta, cord and the actual baby’s heartbeat. Also, now that we’ve covered venepuncture (taking blood) at University clinical sessions I will be starting to do that too, but as it’s only done at certain appointments it just depends on the women booked into clinic.
It’s so fast paced and yet so amazing, these stunning mentors manage to take the time with each woman that they need and deserve whilst also teaching the student with them everything they need to know too and giving them chance to become confident with their new skills. Already I know I can never thank these ladies enough for the extra work they undertake to teach us to be the midwives of the future.
Then there are our lecturers. Just a small team of 5 at my University but they are dedicated and passionate and so very knowledgeable. They don’t just teach us but they really do their best to inspire us to be the best we can be out there and to start the way we mean to go on. We have learnt so much already, anatomy & physiology and the changes in pregnancy, clinical skills which have ranged from making beds properly right through to venepuncture already, and how the body changes again after birth. Those first six weeks have been the most intensive, stressful, scary weeks but now we are out there, even the one day a week suddenly it’s all starting to make so much sense and to really make those days of back to back anatomy lectures and physiology explanations so valuable.
If reading this just makes you want to be a student midwife all the more than that’s 100% what you should be doing and aiming for. I got in on my second cycle, so don’t give up, keep going because I can tell you, from the other side of that admissions process this is the BEST thing to do!
Image 1 – https://goo.gl/2rYogU
Image 2 – https://goo.gl/n8XiOU
Image 3 – https://goo.gl/t4Q9Ju