This week I want to share with you an average week on placement, to try and demonstrate how to keep a uni-life balance. I am currently placed in the community, to meet the number of hours you need to complete four short days (8am–4pm) per week.
I met my mentor at the hospital at 9am ready to start the day. As it is a weekend there are no clinics to run, however fewer staff work so there are more home visits to complete. Over the day we booked one pregnancy as well as seeing two ladies after their first night at home, and discharged five ladies and their babies from maternity care.
Often in community you have to eat your lunch in the car. However, on Saturday, we met for a coffee at a supermarket café with some of the other midwives who were also working. This is a nice opportunity to meet and network with other midwives.
Top tip: Keep some change on you when on community as you don’t want to feel left out on coffee meet-ups.
We were also on call for any home births from 4pm until 8am, however I had arranged to meet my family for a meal in the evening, so I packed a fresh set of uniform and my placement bag in the car, just in case we were called, luckily it was a quiet evening.
Another 9am start, with more home visits to complete. Sunday was an uneventful day with two more bookings to complete as well as more first day visits and discharges. We finished our visits an hour early at 3pm and after checking to see if any other community midwives needed help, we ended our day early. I was able to make it home in time to do my weekly food shop.
An 8am start this time ready for a morning clinic. We saw 11 women with gestations ranging from 16 to 40 weeks pregnant. I completed the hands-on tasks (urinalysis, palpation, blood pressure and auscultation of the fetal heart) while my mentor completed the paperwork. The clinic finished at 1pm, so we ate our lunch before heading out to complete the afternoon visits (three discharges).
On the way to our last visit we were called to a BBA (Born Before Arrival). On arrival, the ambulance was already present, the baby was in good condition, blood loss was minimal but the placenta hadn’t been delivered. I read the woman’s notes (to check for any risk factors/complications in the pregnancy) while my mentor talked the women through the process of delivering the placenta. We noticed that there was significant meconium present, so the baby would need to be taken into the hospital for observations. A second midwife arrived to transfer the lady into the hospital so we could complete our final visits of the day.
Tuesday was my day off but I work as a Student Ambassador for the University, undertaking temporary paid work for the ARU Employment Bureau. Tuesday's job was to assist in running a midwifery interview day from 9am-4pm. At the end of the day, I headed home and completed a module of a CTG e-learning package that had been offered by my Trust.
On Wednesday, I had my second day off. In the morning, I headed to the gym for my weekly personal training session – although not everyone’s cup of tea the gym is my escape from all things midwifery. After the gym, I headed to the hospital to meet my caseload (a lady that you follow for the duration of her pregnancy) for her scan appointment. On my way home I had a call from the Employment Bureau to see if I could work for a few hours that evening at the postgraduate open evening. As I had no plans, I accepted.
Back to community, but no clinic to run today. We booked two pregnancies at women’s homes before heading off to discharge four women. Thursday was a quiet day and with no other visits to complete we ended the day early. I took this opportunity to go home do some housework and work on a reflection that is due at the end of the year.
Another day on community, and just visits to complete. We completed a total of 11 visits over the course of the day and finished at 4pm. On Friday, some of the girls from university popped over for dinner and a catch up.
Saturday was my day off and in quite a rare phenomenon I had big plans. I had tickets to go to Capital’s Summer Time Ball at Wembley Stadium, with my flatmate and fellow student midwife. We had a great day and it was a nice break from midwifery.
- Booking a pregnancy – Involves taking a detailed medical history from the woman, her partner and her immediate family. We are looking for any diseases or illnesses that may be genetic or may affect the pregnancy. You also give the woman a lot of information re upcoming appointments and advice about food and drink, safe sleep and travel etc.
- Urinalysis – Testing the urine using dip sticks to determine general maternal health. Specifically, we look for leucocytes (can indicate infection), protein (can indicate pre-eclampsia), glucose (can indicate diabetes in pregnancy) and ketones (normally more significant in labour; indicating energy supplies have been used up and the woman needs to eat and drink).
- Palpation – Feeling the woman’s abdomen to determine the position of the baby.
- Auscultation – Listening to the fetal heartbeat.
- Born before arrival – A baby born as a result of an unplanned homebirth without any midwifery care during labour, often as a result of a very quick delivery.
- Meconium – The first faecal excretion of a newborn child, normally passed in the first 24 hours after delivery. However, if passed whilst the baby is still in utero, it poses a risk to the babies’ health.
- CTG – Stands for cardiotocography, a digital means of recording the fetal heartbeat and the uterine contractions during pregnancy and labour.