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This is a guest blog by Jessica Correia, who has recently graduated from our BSc (Hons) Midwifery.

This is me on my very first shift in blues!

2020…. what a year to qualify as a health professional. With the global pandemic causing chaos within the health service and staffing levels reduced, I was drafted in alongside my 3rd year colleagues to clinical practice a few months early. The end of our academic programmes were adapted to allow us to support on the front line and we were suddenly paid members of staff working within the NHS during a global pandemic. Things were hectic, full on and it truly felt like the baptism of fire to our lives as soon to be newly qualified midwives. That being said it was the best preparation I could have received to start my career as a Midwife. Although there was no guarantee we would be supernumerary, we still had fantastic placement support. However, the true reality of working in the NHS was really hitting home. Jump forward a few months and we were donning our shiny new blue uniforms with added face masks and PPE to work on the wards as midwives. I didn’t sleep the night before my first shift because it was truly daunting to know that here I was about to be signing my name as a registered Midwife and an NMC pin all of my very own!

The bags under my very tired eyes are the reality of life in the NHS working through a global pandemic.

My first shift was on a post-natal ward and I truly felt so supported. The biggest hurdle was realising I now had to delegate to other members of staff and be responsible for liaising with doctors, paediatricians and physiotherapists. I had lost my safety blanket of saying “I’m the student Midwife”. I was now holding on to the saying “it’s my first day” instead. Completely knowing that was the biggest lie as I had trained in the same trust I was working in for the last three years. My shift ended and although it was busy, I was tired and I had to come back the next day and do it all over again, I actually loved every minute. The next few weeks I gained more confidence and although I had made a few mistakes, thankfully minimal things, I was learning so much more. I felt like the last three years of training were finally all coming together and I felt confident enough to actually speak up and answer the phone as ‘Jess the Midwife’ and not just ‘Jess speaking’.

This is a photo of me in a simulation training for obstetric emergencies.

However, as my time on post-natal came to an end a new challenge was waiting, delivery suite. Now that’s a whole new challenge with complex care needs, emergency situations and medications that as a student I had never administered. Another sleepless night before my shift on delivery suite. I don’t know why I was so nervous because I had the best day. I sited my very first cannula and it was successful. This was a huge moment for me as I myself am needle phobic and hated learning to take bloods as a student. This was swiftly followed by my very first delivery as a qualified Midwife. A moment I will never forget and, yes, I cried once baby was born. This overwhelming sense of achievement for mum and dad but also the fact that I had made it through my first shift, facilitated a birth and everything had gone well. Life as a Midwife isn’t always easy and there are some crazy ups and downs. I’ve had shifts since where I’ve gone home crying because I’ve felt so overwhelmed, but the support from those I qualified with and our practice educator midwives has been amazing.

It is strange once you graduate, I spent the last three years juggling university, placement, work and home life and suddenly here I am just managing home and work life. I feel completely lost without an essay to write or a book to read. I see students on the wards and offer support where I can but the truth is although the whole three years of training is so hard, now it’s over, I really miss it. We have, however, had lots of training days and study days which have been really good and a great way to transition us from students to qualified midwives. Plus get to meet some of the new midwives who joined the trust with us.

My new addition, taking my post-qualification life in a whole new direction!

I’m now eight weeks into my preceptorship and a whole new way of working. At the end of my training, I was surprised to find out that I was expecting a new addition of my own.

Meaning at 28 weeks, due to Covid, I would have to stop working on the ward. I’m working with a fantastic team of midwives in an area I am really passionate about. Although I miss being on the wards and working face to face with women, their families and new additions, I’m gaining a whole new skill set. For now, I am taking a break from the normal preceptorship pathway as I spend time supporting the midwives working with vulnerable women until I head off on maternity leave. However, I can’t wait to come back after I have my baby and get back to doing what I love most.

I’m so lucky to be working alongside so many of the amazing women I trained with and continue working and learning together as we begin our careers as midwives. A massive shout out to these girls. We did it guys! Class of 2017 🎉

Jess Correia,
BSc (Hons) Midwifery graduate

Read Jess’s other blog posts about her student life and top tips for writing personal statement!

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