The last blog update that I posted for MIDIRS was when I had just finished second year. I am now well into my 3rd year having finished an 8-week block at university and I have just started my placement.
I know that a lot of people question the structure of the academic year when reading blog posts for different universities so I thought I would start with the layout of my 3rd and final year as a student midwife.
As previously mentioned, I have just finished an 8-week block of university. This started with 5 weeks of theory and practical skills based around the topic of leadership and quality. As 3rd year student midwives it is expected that we have learnt all the clinical skills required to become an autonomous practitioner, and now it is expected of us to weave in prioritisation of workload and how we can become leaders of the future.
The last 3 weeks were inclusive of theory and skills based around the optional modules we chose to complete at the end of 2nd year. The options were: Maternal critical care, Newborn and Infant Practical Examination (NIPE), Health Promotion and an optional topic for the students that have gone on elective placements.
Personally, I chose to do the NIPE module because I felt that examining a newborn alongside promoting newborn health was a weakness of mine that I wanted to strengthen. The main NIPE standards involve checking the 4 key components of eyes, heart, hips and testes. Completing this course has allowed me to understand the importance of newborn health promotion and looking at the neonate with a holistic perspective alongside how, as midwives, we can get parents involved at every opportunity and teach them as we go along.
An example of this is when we are checking the newborns eyes with an ophthalmoscope for the red reflex. We can get the parents to hold the newborn whilst completing this. This not only allows them to feel like they are being of help, but at the same time we are able to promote health by discussing eye care, etc.
After finishing 8 weeks of university I completed 2 weeks of placement on the maternity ward which is inclusive of antenatal and postnatal care. I’m about to start the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for 2 weeks, and then I finish this 6-week block with a further 2 weeks on maternity ward. Simultaneously I will be revising for my NIPE objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) whereby I have to act out a full newborn examination within 30 minutes.
I will also be preparing my curriculum vitae (CV) and personal statement for when I am able to apply to jobs, alongside researching and preparing for my dissertation which is due in in September (gulp!).
Following this, I have a week of annual leave and then another 4 weeks in university. These are going to be last 4 full weeks in university learning theory as a student midwife, so this is really daunting but exciting at the same time as we can all finally see the light at the end of the tunnel with our degrees.
From the beginning of June I then have a week of dissertation study followed by 6 weeks on central delivery suite (CDS). I am literally so excited to go back to CDS again already. In second year I felt that I really found my feet there and at some point in the future I could absolutely see myself being a core member of staff. However, I would like to rotate around all the wards for as long as possible so that I build up my confidence and skills working in all areas of midwifery. Following CDS I have another week of dissertation study and then 3 weeks of annual leave in the summer.
My final block of placement consists of 6 weeks on a low-risk birth unit and then 6 weeks in community. I haven’t done either of these since 1st year so the thought is very daunting, however I’m also really excited to put into practice all the knowledge and skills I have learnt. I am also intrigued to see how much more confident I feel in going back to low-risk when for the past year and a half I have predominantly been exposed to high-risk situations.
Finally, to conclude 3rd year, we have 1 day left of university which our lecturers have said is mainly going to be a ‘farewell’ and celebration then that will be it…
Unfortunately, because of being a January cohort we won’t actually be having our graduation ceremony until July 2019, but it will be something to look forward to and a catch up with the cohort will be much needed by then I’m sure!
One of my goals in 3rd year is to ensure that I am making the most of every learning opportunity possible, therefore I have been booking myself onto as many study days as possible. The first one I attended was in relation to aromatherapy and the broad range of benefits that they have. An example of this is Lavender; Lavender has been proven to assist with lowering blood pressure, as well as the fact that it helps with headaches and back pain. Although it is important to ensure that we are using any prescribed anti-hypertensives or paracetamol for pyrexia – being aware of these only enhances the care and provisions available.
Another study day that I absolutely have to discuss was facilitated by consultant obstetrician Dr Edwin Chandraharan’s Cardiotocograph (CTG) interpretation and Fetal Monitoring. It was absolutely outstanding and I learnt so much; an example of this was in the intrapartum period where decelerations are occurring. We are always taught about looking at how deep and long the decelerations last for – however Dr Chandraharan’s expertise in fetal monitoring suggests that these aren’t the features we should be looking for, instead focusing on the baseline and variability in between the decelerations. Another interesting point he raised was that in trusts we have a generic CTG sticker for all fetuses without taking into consideration whether they are term, pre-term, have any growth restrictions etc. There were literally too many mind blowing things that I can’t physically put into this blog post but all I want to say is if you see this study day being advertised anywhere please go! It was worth every penny (always the benefit of being a student was that it was half price). I would absolutely pay to go again.
I hope this post has been helpful! I next plan on doing one at the end of the next 4 weeks incorporating my experiences of NICU and my final few weeks on the maternity ward.
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