The big question?


I thought I would now throw you in at the midwifery deep end with the big question – integrated or block placements? The answer to this question will depend on how you want to spend your time over the next three years. What a question that is! No pressure obviously.

Two words… Integrated or Block?

Integrated or block placements was not a subject I paid much attention to prior to interviews. I was so caught up in the process and trying to secure my place, quite frankly if they had offered me a place supporting women on the moon I may have considered it as a viable option. However, I quickly realised it was a big deciding factor and worth some thought. For me, an integrated placement was the best option, this is what is offered at the University of York and I’m going to explain why it’s such a positive thing.

What is an integrated placement?

So briefly, an integrated placement means you are in university and attending a placement at the same time. Ok not quite exactly the same time, student midwives are pretty awesome but that is beyond even us. We are attending both within the same week, same term, same academic year, you get the idea. Each week is not exactly the same, it depends on the module being studied. See my term planner below for a preview of how it works. This differs from a block placement where you’re at university for blocks of time not attending placement and vice versa.

The pink =university days The hours= clinical hours that week.
The pink = university days
The hours = clinical hours that week.

This means that no sooner had we started university, within days we were out in community practice, with real midwives, women and babies. During the very first week I picked up my crisp white student midwife uniform and stood against the backdrop of my living room to have the obligatory first photograph. In the blink of an 8 hour day shift I was back in class with my peers learning about what we were seeing.

Now not to get emotional (I’m saving that for tomorrow’s night shift) but I really love this way of learning. I feel it is enabling me to really understand not only how we do things in practice but why. I will give you this week as an example with some candid shots thrown in for free.

We are currently studying a module called Applied Midwifery, and we have been on the simulated ward environment studying and practicing suturing techniques. We have had access to the 3D models and equipment, along with one-to-one tuition from our supportive lecturers, midwives themselves. (I may have needed more support than most, I once sewed with a needle in 2006 and not since!)

Practice makes perfect Thank you to mid 14 for consent.
Practice makes perfect Thank you to mid 14 for consent to use these photos.

Also, during this session, we have learnt the theory behind an aseptic technique, watched videos, asked questions and practiced within a safe supportive environment. Tomorrow night, on the labour ward, I may see this in practice. I will understand what I’m seeing and be more confident with my own knowledge and if there’s anything I see tomorrow which requires further study…well I will be back at university on Monday to look it up.

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I am a second year midwifery student. I have a previous degree in Fine art and English literature with a long standing interest in photography. I am a long distance runner, currently in the process of raising money for newborn group b strep support with 30 events for my 30th year. I hope to complete an ultra marathon in the spring. I also have 4 children to keep me busy.

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