Hello! My name is Rowan (she/her), and I’m a 2nd-Year student midwife at the University of York. Being a part of the University has given me so many opportunities, both extracurricular and within midwifery, and I’d love to tell you more about them.
You may have heard that being on this course is busy, but there is still time to take part in societies and social events. The midwifery team at York are so supportive; I hope you find them as helpful as I have! My favourite part about the course has to be my time on placement, and in the Clinical Simulation Unit (CSU). I really hope I can give you an idea of what being a student midwife at York is like!
My week has been a pretty busy one compared to some others, so let’s start at the very beginning.
Saturday and Sunday
This weekend, I spent my time on placement in the community, looking after some lovely families who had just welcomed a new baby! Working in the community is such a wonderful experience, and gives you a real chance to speak to women about their care.
Over these two days, I went on home visits to provide general postnatal care, which included breastfeeding support, weighing babies and generally checking on how everyone is doing! I also was very lucky to discharge a wonderful family from our care who I had been lucky enough to see right the way through their after-birth experience – from in the hospital to at home! They were kind enough to leave me a card and some chocolates, which truly made my day just that tiny bit more perfect.
It was back at university today for some practical sessions in our CSU. Being in 2nd Year means we are starting to look at more complicated situations during pregnancy, labour and after birth – and today, we got to look at suturing and labour progress!
It was so exciting to get hands-on with a new skill. Suturing is all about repairing any tears after childbirth, and is such an important skill to learn. It was also oddly satisfying. I am definitely no expert, but think I did a pretty good job on this piece of foam!
After this, we had a seminar talking all about progress in labour, and some common issues, like a high head. The lecturers are so supportive here, and incredibly knowledgeable, so we really couldn’t be in better hands.
On Tuesday, we got to talk about and see something that, although rather rare to see, is incredibly important – vaginal breech birth. I got the opportunity to see the way a baby moves through the pelvis using a doll and model pelvis, and then practise helping to birth a breech baby using our models. These models are an invaluable resource when learning all of these skills. I’m so thankful I get to watch and practise using them first, before I see it in placement.
Just one session today. Every Wednesday when we are in theory, we only have face-to-face teaching sessions in the morning, meaning we can spend the afternoon joining in with all the societies we have here at York!
Today was all about pain relief in labour. Having been on the labour ward in placement quite a lot now, it was great to get a chance to talk about my experiences, and learn a bit more about how it works and what can happen because of it.
It was an extra bonus having a half-day because it was also one of my wonderful friend’s birthdays! She just so happens to be a 2nd-Year student midwife too, so it was the perfect chance for lots of us to all go out together and celebrate.
I always find it is so important to take the chance to spend some time with your friends when you can because this isn’t an easy degree. It takes lots of time and hard work, and I definitely felt we had earned the time off!
It was back to talking about labour care today, and this time it was all about different positions these babies can get themselves into! We started the morning off by talking about when the baby is laid with their spine next to their mum’s spine (also known as the back-to-back, spine-to-spine or Occipitoposterior position). Just the other week, I got the chance to experience this on labour ward, and so yet again, it was brilliant to talk about my experience and understand how it all works.
It was then onto more positions babies can get themselves into. In this case, classed as ‘malpositions and malpresentations’. This is usually a position that is more difficult to give birth in, and perhaps needs some different care. It was yet again so clear how experienced our lecturers truly are – you wouldn’t believe some of the things they’ve seen!
I promise we’re nearly there now. The final day! And it’s all about breastfeeding and monitoring babies. We spent the morning talking about CTG’s (Cardiotocographs), and got the chance to both learn the theory and put it into practice by classifying some examples. Having seen so many on placement after learning the basics, to get the chance to take it that bit further really helped me to understand what I was looking at.
Next, it was all about some common issues with breastfeeding. This session was fantastic to have this week because it lends itself perfectly to the essay for this module! I always feel so grateful that the way our sessions are timetabled makes writing essays and studying that little bit easier. And trust me, I’ll take any help I can get!
For everyone else, that was the end of the scheduled work week. But I had one thing left to do – my intermediate interview. We do these in the middle of every placement block to get a grading and idea of how we are doing. Because of Covid-19, I did mine over Zoom with my lovely practice assessor (and lecturer), who is my academic assessor! It really helps to have these because you know where you need to focus on before the final grading, and can get any extra support you need.
And that was it!
Definitely a full-on, busy week, and it is now on to writing my next essay. I hope this has given you some sort of idea about what a week can look like as a student midwife!
Read more stories about being a student midwife at York