A typical week on placement can be absolutely anything! Last week I started with two night shifts on a postnatal ward, then a 7 hour day with the Screening Midwife and then a 12.5 hour day on postnatal again. I was even lucky enough to catch my fourth baby! It’s always emotional on your last day on a placement as you feel like part of the team and because you work so closely with your mentor you create a nice bond.
If you’re on a community placement you might be working in antenatal clinics making sure the pregnancy stays healthy, postnatal clinics examining mums and babies, going on postnatal visits to houses and maybe even attending home births.
If you’re in the hospital you could be on the antenatal ward caring for women whose pregnancies have become complicated or caring for women having inductions of labour. You could be on the labour ward, catching babies, watching forceps deliveries, caesarean sections or water births. You could be on postnatal caring for women and babies after birth. And many more areas too.
“Midwifery is never boring.”
Midwifery is never boring. For example, on a typical postnatal shift you might have four sets of observations due, and at the same time three women wanting to be discharged home, two women who need help with breast feeding and a baby who needs a head-to-toe examination. At some point you need to squeeze a break in for breakfast too! But everyone works as a team and there is no better feeling than knowing you managed well and finished the day having done a good job.
On one of my night shifts, I was having a rest on my break when suddenly:
“Sam, the lady from the induction bay is having her baby and wants you there!”
My excitement levels went through the roof. Suddenly full of energy, I ran around to the labour ward and the next thing I know I’m on my hands and knees, sterile gloves and warm compress at the ready looking at the top of baby’s head emerging, slowly and then carefully turning.
You never leave a labour room without absolutely marvelling at how women’s bodies work. And there is no better feeling in the whole world than passing that baby straight up to mum. I like to take a little second just to take it all in before getting on with the many postnatal tasks that need completing. It is such a privilege to be part of such a special moment, whether baby is born with forceps, through a caesarean section, on a bed, couch or in a pool. It is just a magical feeling.
Straight back to it
But then of course there’s no time for rest! My activity tracker buzzed 10,000 steps around four hours ago so no doubt I’m coming up to 15,000 steps. It’s a brisk walk back around to postnatal as there’s a mum who needs urgent bloods and a mum who’s really struggling with breast feeding and just needs some TLC. That is what is amazing about this job, and in particular being a student. You can make a difference no matter how small or big the task is. It’s not easy to be learning constantly, balancing academics with practical learning, wearing your antenatal, postnatal and intrapartum hats in quick succession. But it is worth it. It’s not easy to be learning constantly, balancing academics with practical learning, wearing your antenatal, postnatal and intrapartum hats in quick succession. But it is worth it.
Your course friends quickly become your best friends. The support systems in York are brilliant. The tutors are always there to help you with anything and support you through the intense learning curve of midwifery. Your friends are so important too. You can talk to each other after a bad shift or a brilliant shift, revise together and pep each other up when exam period comes. They really do become friends for life.
Now it’s time for a break with my family. I’m busy planning my elective placement to Nepal, I’m so excited! All of my essays are submitted and I’m ready to have a little rest before starting back in the community for three months. I’m excited to come back and tackle whatever second year has to throw at me. They tell you first year passes by in the blink of an eye and I promise it is true. It feels like yesterday I was a nervous, excited first year learning how to find a baby’s heartbeat. It’s been brilliant so far and I’m looking forward to what’s yet to come!