So, your journey to becoming a student midwife has begun. There have been highs and lows already and I can promise you the rollercoaster ride will continue!
I have just finished my first year and, wow! I thought I would write this blog in the hope I can give new students a little insight into what will come up in the first few weeks and months of your midwifery journey.
You have been offered an interview and the nerves have kicked in, the excitement has begun and you can’t stop telling everyone. It is an amazing feeling: use all of that excitement and the nerves to practice.
Practise the maths and English as much as you can so you feel confident and you've done all you can to settle the nerves.
The interview day is very relaxed and, with a good amount of practice, you should have your space. Remember, this is your time to shine!
Getting an offer
So you allowed yourself to shine in the interview and after what feels like a lifetime, you have been offered a place on the course. Well done!
There is a new rush of excitement come over you, along with more nerves and a whole heap of joy. You will 'think midwifery' most of the time now – I know this feeling so well. Now you have a thousand questions you want to ask before you start...
Before you start
You’ve got your offer and now you find you are just waiting, counting down the days. It may feel like there is so much to do before September, but my biggest suggestion is to enjoy the summer before you start!
As a student ambassador at ARU, I am around to answer questions as the summer draws in and trust me, there will be lots of questions. Here are a few tips.
- Do not go crazy buying things! Start with the basics: a sturdy bag for university and placement; simple bits of stationery such as pens, pads, highlighters and a pencil case.
- Ensure you have a water bottle and lunch box.
- You don’t need to buy lots of books before you start as they will be available in the library and online.
- For placement I would suggest buying a fob watch and some comfy shoes (I always suggest Clarks unloops).
Other than these basics I think you can pick the rest up as you go.
With regards to reading over summer I always suggest looking at basic anatomy and physiology as this will be what you learn first, and some parts of the body can take a while to understand. Look into the systems of the body and don’t worry if you feel like you don’t have any midwifery knowledge. The lecturers are brilliant at building your knowledge and trust me, I know what it's like to start and feel like you’re entering a foreign world. But it will all come together I promise!
Enjoy summer, spend time with family and friends and enjoy telling people you are on your way to achieve your dreams (this never gets boring as I still tell everyone now!).
The first day
When you received your offer you probably thought this day was so far away – but here you are, on your first day! What a whirlwind of emotions it will be.
You will meet the people you are going to spend the next three years with. Just remember you will all be as nervous as each other. Some of you may know each other, some of you won’t but trust me, you will make friends in no time. It is an amazing experience and once the nerves have gone you will have a blast.
The first week is all about making introductions, meeting others and getting used to the University, not forgetting Freshers' week! You will all come from different backgrounds and have different lifestyles but there will be something for everyone to enjoy whether it’s the free pizza at the freshers' fayre, the free pens or the amazing offers on food and drink out in town. Enjoy the first week before the lectures and hard work starts.
The first lecture
So now we get down to business, the lectures.
I really struggled to even believe I was there, at my chosen university, starting the course that will help me to achieve my dreams... and then the Powerpoint loaded and boy, was I lost! It went so fast and my poor brain couldn’t keep up and I thought I was never going to understand anything or do well on my course. If you feel like this it is completely normal; you soon get into the swing of things...
Use the Canvas site, which has the Powerpoints on it, to either print it or get it up on an iPad/laptop. You are not expected to write everything down and this is the beauty of having the Powerpoint available when you go home. You can look back at all of the Powerpoints and make notes at home. Everyone has a different way of learning and within weeks you will find what works for you. Believe me when I say you will learn it and when you’re in my position, at the end of first year, you’ll look back at that first lecture and realise it wasn’t as bad as it felt at the beginning.
The first day on placement
You are in your uniform, on the way to placement and you can’t stop shaking/sweating and probably feeling very sick! I won’t lie, it is extremely nerve-wracking, that first day in a hospital you aren’t familiar with, about to work with people you do not know, doing something you have never done before. But don’t let the nerves get the better of you. Everyone has to start somewhere and you may not feel like you know much yet but trust me, the mentors are fantastic and will give you the knowledge you need to do amazingly well.
My biggest tip on succeeding on placement is: ask questions! Mentors are there to help you and I know that they would rather you ask questions than stay quiet or guess something. Having basic knowledge is not a problem, and you will honestly learn so much from the amazing team at the hospital.
Do not be afraid to say you don’t know something or don’t understand because even when qualified you won’t know everything. I was asked to complete a procedure by a doctor on my second shift on a High Risk Delivery Suite and I had no idea what she was on about, so I just explained I was a first year and didn’t know the procedure so I was unable to assist. She said thank you to me afterwards, because she would rather I took a step back than try to do something that I am not able to do.
I hope this blog has given you a little idea on what to expect from your midwifery degree. Enjoy the rollercoaster ride!