Written by Guest blogger
Becoming a student midwife at BU has been one of the best things I ‘bit the bullet’ and did. Being classed as a mature student (albeit only 25 years old!) made me a bit apprehensive about applying for the course but with some encouragement from friends and family I tackled the UCAS application, braved the interview process and here I am today! After lots of laughs, tears, hugs and 32 babies safely caught, I’m writing this blog 10 months from qualifying as a registered midwife!
I won’t lie and say it’s been the easiest two years of my life but it’s certainly been the most rewarding. I’ve definitely built up some resilience and powered through the ‘second year blues’ to get to where I am now and believe me, it is so worth it!
Studying to become a midwife isn’t your typical undergraduate degree, you spend 50% of your time at uni and 50% in placement (the best bit!). I’ll tell you a bit about our typical day at uni and on the job!
A day at university
When we are on a uni block (typically between 2-8 weeks) lectures start at 9:30am and finish usually around 16:00 (although we usually get out by 15:30)! We have three 1.5 hour lectures in the
day (3-4 days per week) separated by a coffee and lunch break so you get time to re-fuel your brain regularly!
The lectures are usually held at one of three buildings at the Lansdowne Campus and involve a range of taught sessions, seminar groups and clinical practice sessions in the labs. These are my favourite days, we get the opportunity to practice the hands-on skills that we will be undertaking on placement!
When we’re not at uni, we get plenty on self-managed study time to do the pre-work for the sessions and read around all the new interesting things we’ve been learning so you’ll definitely be kept busy!
A day on placement
A day on placement in the hospital is usually a 12 hour shift, day or night, and you’ll expect to work 3-4 of these per week including weekends. When you’re in the community you’ll usually work 5 days per week roughly 9am-5pm and some weekends or nights if you’re on call with your mentor and attending home births!
When I’m in community, we normally start in the office and discuss the plan for the day, including clinics and home visits. There are several antenatal clinics run by my team and typically these run from GP surgeries. We typically see between 5 and 15 women in a clinic and this is the best place to build up your antenatal care experience. I work alongside my mentor in the appointment, taking the woman’s blood pressure, testing her urine sample, performing the abdominal examination and listening to her baby’s heartbeat! When we are not running a clinic, we visit women at home for their postnatal check, help with feeding and answer any questions they’ve got about caring for their new baby. We also get the opportunity to teach antenatal education which can be quite fun if you get the chance to create your own games for the sessions!
When I’m working on the labour ward I usually arrive about 15 minutes early, enough time to change into my scrubs and make a cuppa. Then I make my way to the handover room and meet my mentor. The ward managers then have their handover in the room and the current shift manager allocates midwives to women or jobs. Usually the managers are helpful and try to give the midwives with students, women requiring care that the students need experience in. After handover, we introduce ourselves to the woman and take over care from the previous midwife. In the hospital, you usually get an hour break in your shift and there’s always time to down a quick cuppa if it’s not too busy! If I was working on the postnatal ward I would be getting involved with the drugs rounds, doing observations and postnatal checks on mothers and babies and helping with feeding.
I always get asked which aspect of midwifery I prefer but I genuinely can’t answer, I enjoy the variety of roles and love that every day is different. I’m so grateful to those friends and family that pushed me to take this leap, midwifery is definitely my calling and I can’t imagine doing anything else!