Student Midwifery Diaries #4

The Calm before the Storm. 

The past month has been stressful, amazing, anxious, peaceful, nerve-racking. You name it, I've experienced it this month. Up until the 19th December I was in stress mode, simply due to my first exam - I'm hoping that I was overreacting in my stress, and I'm really hoping I've pulled a B, but overall I'm happy with how it went. We then went to Wagamamas to celebrate - then had the realisation that we wouldn't be seeing one another until March. Placements from Orkney to Dundee - we would be busy. 

After the 19th, life has been pretty sweet. For the first time in over 10 years - I had Christmas and New Year off. After 10 years of retail, 10 years of people whining that I ruined their Christmas over a pack of mouldy carrots - I FINALLY got to enjoy my Christmas without the dampness of Tesco. It's been glorious. 

I would also love to say I have been revising for the past two weeks, preparing myself for placement - but that would be a complete lie. I haven't looked at my books at all. So guess what I'll be doing all day Sunday?

So considering I haven't done much this month, and I begin placements Monday 7th January,  I decided to do a quick Q&A on Instagram to see what questions everyone had about Midwifery placements. 

Did you Know? 

To qualify as registered midwives it isn't just about getting 40 births. We also need 100 antenatal examinations, 100 postnatal examinations, 100 neonatal examinations, 40 women at risk, 40 vaginal examinations. We also need evidence of continuity of care, the experience of perineal assessment and suturing, episiotomies, breastfeeding assistance and assisted births. Oh the numbers. 

Over 50% of our time in Education also needs to be in practice, so we MUST get our hours in. Average 37.5hrs per week to qualify. If we are sick, or off for any reason - we need to make it up at the end - or we can't register. Think of that when considering that in England they removed funding and bursaries from English Student Midwives and Nurses. Working a 37.5hr week, 46 weeks a year, not able to work part-time on top of placements either. Leaving university with a mountain of debt. It's slightly terrifying. On the upside Scotland rocks and our bursaries have just been announced to be increasing *yay*. 

P L A C E M E N T   Q & A

Would you recommend doing Midwifery? I'm worried about being on call so much and having a family. 
Yes I would recommend doing midwifery if it is what you are most passionate about, you need to want to work for it. Work hard, be dedicated. Nowadays (From what I can make out anyway) the majority of hospital midwives work 12.5-hour shifts from 7am-7.30pm or 7.00pm to 7.30am. This is done 3 days a week (And 4 days a week one week a month to make it up to 37.5hrs per week average) - no on call. Community midwives work as a team, they typically work a standard 5 day week, with the on-call aspect being rotated and supported by the team. It's far more accommodating than what I had originally thought. 

Where will this course take you? 
A Job as a Midwife - one of the few courses which are pretty straightforward career wise lol. 

How hands-on will you get during placement? Do they let you have a bash at everything? 
The typical rule of thumb is; 1st year is supervised, 2nd year supported and 3rd year is independent (but throughout the 3 years we have a mentor and should be with someone qualified throughout). So yes, I will be pretty hands-on once I have my confidence in place - and depending on the task. Like anything, they want you to feel comfortable and sure before you try something, especially as we are working with real women, but it's a learn by doing kind of role - I know from speaking to the second years, for example, they were doing bloods the first week of placement to get over the nerves of them. I think of it as: see one, help one, do one. classic learning structure. 

Are you scared about the pooping during labour? 
I think I am more scared of women being self-conscious, worried or nervous about it. It really isn't something to worry about, especially after learning why it happens, if anything it just ensures there is more room for baby to move through the pelvis. Defecation is a good sign - in the words of Mo, "Yay Poop". 

What's the best thing about being a Midwifery Student? 
Everything. Lame, but true. I worked my ass off to get onto the course, and I'm enjoying every second. I love the subject, I find it SO interesting. Now that I am a student too everyone tells me their birth stories, its fab for house parties (as I found out over Christmas). I love the look on women's faces when they tell me how their births went. No matter the birth, the look on their face when they say "Then... was here" is magic. Nothing beats the sheer unexplainable event that is creating another human. 

Biggest Fear? 
I think we all know that one. I think my fear around it is around the support, the care. Being able to support women and her family through something like that would be incredibly difficult, but ultimately what the role is all about, supporting, caring and looking after families - through the good and the bad. 

What are you most nervous about being let loose on real women? 
Emotions and Nerves. I think I am terrified all round. I want to get on with my mentor, get on with women I meet, not come across as scared. I also have issues with getting words out when I'm enthusiastic about something - its like word soup in my brain all trying to come out at once. Also, let's be fair here - I am going to cry a lot. I can't even watch women on TV having babies without getting emotional at the feels - so in real life, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be an ugly face crying wreck at some point. I better get a good waterproof mascara. 

Are you excited for placement? 
HELL YES. Very excited. But also very nervous/terrified. 

The scrapbook featured is from Cheerz, you can purchase them here with the price starting at £35.00. Buuuut, you can use my code ERINXCHEERZ for £5 off a £10 Spend. 

I hope you have enjoyed this update and Q&A! I attend Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, studying Bachelor of Midwifery, you can apply or find out more here: 

Make sure to follow me on Instagram for constant updates too! :)


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