This month MIDIRS stops to chat with 3rd-year midwifery student, Linda Goulding, University College Cork
What made you choose a career in midwifery?
Since my teenage years, I have been fascinated by pregnancy and childbirth. I watched every midwifery show on TV. The way women’s bodies change and facilitate new life is incredible to me. When I left school at 18, however, I was unsure about what I wanted to do, but eventually opted to do a three-year degree in comparative religion and the study of psychology. During my studies, my fascination with human reproduction and birth continued and I decided to apply to study midwifery. Upon graduating I was ready to start on my path to becoming a midwife.
I’m from Cork myself and I am a complete home bird. I applied to other colleges in England but when I got accepted to UCC I never considered going anywhere else. UCC is a top institution with committed staff who offer great support throughout our studies. The Brookfield campus is a superb new building that has a wide range of great training tools and facilitates.
What does becoming a midwife mean to you?
Becoming a midwife has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Being there for women and their families during this amazing but sometimes demanding time is a privilege. Having the fortune to train in Ireland and become an autonomous practitioner, I know I will be able to have a career that I will be happy in.
What did you enjoy the most during your midwifery training?
I love all the people I have met so far. Being a midwife gives you the privilege of working with people from many cultures and walks of life. I have also had the luck to train with a great group of girls and have made many lifelong friends along the way.
What was your greatest challenge during your course?
For me, getting used to 6 am alarms and 12 hour shifts was particularly challenging. By nature I am not a morning person so getting used to being on ward for 7:45 am handover and putting on a happy, friendly face took some adjusting to. After three years, 6 am starts are becoming pretty normal and 12-hour shifts fly by in the blink of an eye. It is amazing when you have spent 12 hours on your feet but still don’t want to leave because you’ve enjoyed the day so much.
Tell us about your aspirations
When I graduate, I hope to spend some time gaining clinical experience to enable me to be able to support women and their families to the best of my abilities. In the future I would love to travel and being a midwife has opened so many doors for me.
I would love one day to work with teenage parents. The idea of supporting these young parents through their pregnancy, labour and the postnatal period sounds challenging but ultimately very rewarding.
I would also consider one day going into midwifery education. I would love to work with the future generation of midwives to help them become confident autonomous practitioners.
What never fails to amaze you about childbirth?
Being with a woman and her partner during labour and childbirth is an unbelievable experience and privilege. I am always amazed that every birth is so different. It doesn’t matter how many you’ve attended or how many books you’ve read, every birth presents its own challenges and its own beautiful moments and enduring memories.
Which of MIDIRS services have you found useful during your studies?
The MIDIRS publications have up to date midwifery research and information and present them in a very accessible fashion.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt so far?
The importance of teamwork. Midwives may be autonomous practitioners but the ability to work within a team is an invaluable skill for midwives. The care of a woman and her baby often involves the multi-disciplinary team and being able to work within this team is an important aspect of midwifery care.
And finally, if you were to give a few words of advice to new student midwives what would they be?
Take the good times with the bad. Sometimes when you start out, you encounter situations and experience things that don’t make much sense at the time and you can sometimes find yourself feeling a little lost. It’s important to remember that all experiences are valuable ones that you can learn from.
About University College Cork
The School of Nursing & Midwifery, established in 1994, is an integral part of the College of Medicine & Health at University College Cork. The School provides a BSc (Honours) Midwifery programme (4 Years) and a Higher Diploma in Midwifery (18 months), with both programmes leading to registration as a midwife in Ireland. A range of postgraduate programmes is available including a Postgraduate Diploma in Neonatology, an MSc Midwifery and various PhD programmes.
Students are the most valued members of the school. Through course work, lecturers support students to be self-reflective, to take responsibility for personal learning and to develop personal and professional capabilities for life-long learning. Ultimately, we hope that students find enjoyment, excitement and challenge in the pursuit of knowledge and its application to midwifery practice.
Students spend most of their practice placements at Cork University Maternity Hospital which opened in March 2007. This new hospital was the amalgamation of services from three maternity units/hospitals in Cork. This is a tertiary centre and, since opening, has provided women-centred care and has almost 9,000 births per year. The maternity services in Cork have facilitated midwifery education since 1799.
Contributor and photo credit: Linda Goulding