I’ve just become a student midwife at a London university, though it was six long years ago when I first became interested in midwifery on the birth of my nephew. I am so excited to become a student midwife.
I hadn’t been exposed to the world of maternity care before that and was blown away by it. I started volunteering at my local hospital in various departments and eventually ended up on the central delivery suite.
My experiences there are what made me decide to apply to study midwifery. In order to get a place on a course, I completed an A-level in biology as a private candidate, and found more volunteer work for other charities that supported women, such as NCT and Rape Crisis.
Fast forward to the present, and the first week of my course was inevitably filled with information about what to expect for the next three years.
I was given timetables, handbooks, contracts and declarations to sign, expenses forms, and my personal assessment document (which will record how well I’m doing when out on placements).
As midwifery students are expected to be on placements in local NHS trusts for 50% of their course, there are a lot of guidelines and codes of practice that must be adhered to, and the first few days of getting to grips with these felt quite intensive.
My cohort and I were also introduced to the lecturers and personal tutors who will be teaching and supporting us. All the lecturers are health care professionals themselves, so it’s great to know that we will be learning from people with a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Relief and excitement
It’s also great to be studying with such an enthusiastic and passionate group of people. Everyone on the course has worked really hard to get their place. For some (like me), it has taken several years of gaining the right qualifications and experience, and the relief and excitement we all feel to be here is palpable.
This week also included resuscitation, and moving and handling theory lectures, which are mandatory in order for students to carry out their placements. Within the next few weeks these will be followed up with practical sessions.
Once the induction week was done, we were thrown straight into biology and midwifery practice lectures. Both are very in-depth and already require quite a lot of extra reading.
In order to gain the basic knowledge we need to begin placements, there are a lot of topics to cover in quite a short space of time, so we’re expected to start actively preparing for lectures by getting familiarised with the areas that will be covered.
Try before you buy
In terms of reading material, we are encouraged to use the University libraries to try out the different textbooks that are available before we buy them. This is because different textbooks present information in different ways so it is important for each person to find one they can easily understand and are comfortable with.
As this is an evidence-based course, lecturers frequently reference recent research and developments, and information about how our approach to midwifery has changed over recent years is worked into the sessions.
It has been made clear that while we are expected to be self disciplined and manage our own study, there is also a lot of support available from the teaching staff and from the staff at our assigned trusts, particularly when on placements.
My personal tutor is very encouraging and approachable, and it feels good to know that there will be someone I can go to in confidence should I need help with anything.
For the next few weeks I will be continuing to get to know the other students on my course and will hopefully be learning some basic clinical midwifery skills, ready to start my first placement at the end of May.