My first week on placement has been an absolute whirlwind. At The University of West of England, all first year students’ placements are either in the community or low risk birthing units so that we were able to learn about the basics, as well as assessing the difference between low and high risk patients. I personally think it’s really beneficial for us to see some normality before working in high risk, high pressured maternity wards.
My first placement is in the community. My first shift was on Monday 21st March and I was so nervous before going on that first shift. I really shouldn’t have been, because everyone knows the situation that you are in, as the midwives that you are working with have also been in that position.
My first day was really full-on – my mentor and I started off doing some home visits with both antenatal and postnatal women. Although I’ve had some experience, because I was previously a maternity care assistant, this was completely different as I had never completed community work.
My mentor got me stuck straight in though; I joined in on conversing with the women that we were looking after, as well as taking blood pressures and weighing the babies. In the afternoon, we went to an antenatal clinic. This involves women coming in throughout their pregnancies for a general check-up such as observation of blood pressure and maternal pulse, urinalysis, checking the fundal height if over 24 weeks gestation, abdominal palpation and listening to the foetal heart. My mentor was amazing in the fact that she let me get completely involved. My first abdominal palpation was interesting – I really couldn’t make out anything! However, she went through it with me, and with the woman’s consent, and with my mentor’s help I managed to correctly identify a cephalic baby.
Even looking back throughout this first week, already my skills have improved so much. We did a clinic on Thursday, so just four days later and I managed to correctly identify the position of the babies, as well as finding most of the foetal hearts first time. I was in my element.
During Tuesday and Wednesday, I had my Trust inductions at the hospital that I will be working at. I was absolutely blown away by the facilities and everything that they provided when we went on a tour. I can’t even describe how excited I am to work there! One of the biggest areas to get your head around is the maternal notes that they carry. Identifying where everything is, and everything you need to fill out can be tricky, especially during booking interviews and other antenatal appointments.
However, within the Trust induction we went through them, and I’ve since been able to annotate them which has been really useful. We also received our ID badges from our Trust, I don’t think I will ever get bored of seeing my name and ‘student midwife’ underneath it.
On Thursday, I worked with my other mentor and did a clinic in the morning, and then some home visits in the afternoon. The one thing that I am absolutely loving about the community is the continuity of care that is provided to our women.
Even in the first week I’ve managed to see some of the same women either two or three times. It means you can build a really good rapport with them, and although you’re there to provide care, you can really get to know and have a laugh with them and their family!
Lastly, on Friday we had home visits all day. We visited both antenatal and postnatal women, and again I worked on my skills on palpations and auscultating the foetal heart. I don’t think I will ever get bored of finding the babies heart beat racing along, as well as looking at the mother’s face and seeing nothing but joy.
It’s been a very busy week, and although I was completely exhausted at the end of it, (I’m not ashamed to say I spent all of Saturday in my pyjamas!) I still cannot wait for Monday to do it all over again. I will be sure to keep everyone updated of my skill-building, and I’m hoping that by the next time I write I will have completed booking an interview on my own. Wish me luck!