By Leah Buswell, a first-year student midwife at the University of West of England
What an overwhelming week! Most of our timetable this week was part of the induction process, but it was still massively exciting. On Monday all of our cohort finally came together and met each other in person – although I had personally met quite a few of them beforehand, most of our interaction was on Facebook, so it was so lovely meeting everyone face-to-face. We had a full programme overview, as well as meeting all staff members which was informative and stimulating.
On Monday we had so much to take in, but for me, as sad as it sounds the most exciting part of my day was getting my badge which said Leah Buswell – Student Midwife. How long have I waited to see that?! There is no feeling like it.
Throughout the rest of the week we learnt so much about what it was to be a Student Midwife, our upcoming responsibilities, as well as the upcoming journeys and emotional rollercoasters that we have only just started.
One of the main things I loved was that each of us had been through our own journeys and life experiences to get us to where we are, and we all came together and reflected on these which was fantastic to hear. It was empowering to hear that no matter what battles we had all faced, we had come together and made it to where we had always wanted to be; it was truly inspiring.
Another part that amazed me throughout the week was how much support we were going to receive as well – from so many different places. We have our personal tutors, peer-assisted learning facilities (where we buddy up with someone in year 2 to turn to for questions and support), all of our other tutors for the different areas of midwifery, workshops run by the university for areas that we are struggling with, the Students’ Union, the midwifery society, and last but not least everyone in our cohort.
One of the really great parts of the induction week was that we had a Q&A session with student midwives in their second years. It meant that we were literally able to ask any questions that we wanted and received honest answers from individuals who have already been in the same position as us – one of my main questions was about my placement zone and what it was like there, all fears were diminished quickly. We also had another Q&A session with some women and their babies on their experiences of maternity care and what they personally felt could have been improved. They both had very different birth experiences and it made me really reflect and confirm the type of midwife I want to be. These sessions can be nothing but incredibly valuable, to hear first-hand what could have been improved for an individual’s antenatal, birth and postnatal experience was a real eye-opener.
I know one of the questions that I really wanted answering before I came here was what the timetables were like. It can be very random! Some weeks we are in 4 days but others 3, and the days are normally 9:00am – 16:00pm, but you do get the odd day where you are doing 9:00 – 13:00pm. However, when we go out to placement in roughly 6 weeks we will just be shadowing whatever shifts our mentor does – that’s 37.5 hours a week, days, nights and weekends.
Lastly, I moved into halls and just wanted to say that I am absolutely loving it. I’m living with other student midwives, and it was so reassuring walking into our first day of university with them by my side. One of the main things I have realised is that our cohort is now my little university family; we are all there to support and encourage each other throughout our ups and downs on this massive journey ahead of us. Bring it on!
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