This week has been so exciting. The whole week seems to have been creating this humungous build towards today. Today is a big day. Today I have my first shift as a practising student midwife – and I’m so so so excited I can barely move!
We started this week with, essentially, a quick dip into all the things we hadn’t covered yet, so that we have a vague idea when we get out onto placement, even though we haven’t covered it in detail yet….after all, we have only had 6 weeks of theory to learn the thing we need for this first placement – no-one is expecting us to know it all just yet!
Monday was our study day this week, so I spent the day doing a bit of blog work and then reading over things from the week before – and cooking!
On Tuesday we looked a little deeper into Newborn examinations – I think I’ve mentioned before that as part of our course we also get a NIPE qualification, so we were being told the very basic of that so we can have that in our minds when we are doing baby checks over the next few weeks. Then in the afternoon we had a very basic lecture in pharmacology – essentially how not to break the legalities about being a student administering drugs – then we will learn what they do and when they are used when we get come back to uni after Christmas.
On Wednesday we covered more about the process of labour, going into depth about the different stages, and about active or physiological third stage (the delivery of the placenta can occur entirely naturally, kick started by your own maternal hormones and will arrive within a couple of hours of birth, or it can be sped up by a jab after the baby is delivered and will normally arrive within half an hour after birth….every woman should be given this choice.) Then we covered choice and consent in the afternoon – making sure we know what procedures need verbal consent and what needs written consent etc. We also covered a bit more about choice, and what we can act on and not – ensuring that the mother has ultimate choice and control of her birth experience.
We spent Thursday morning learning a bit more about providing postnatal care and then changes that a new baby has on the parents and the family dynamic. Then Thursday afternoon was really exciting. We had known for a while that this was coming, but it was still so much more exciting when the moment came. As we have learnt all the basic aspects of antenatal, intra-partum and postnatal care, our tutors decided that it would be good for us to see it all being put together, the whole process. This meant we can back from lunch on Thursday to find one of our tutors wearing a huge baby bump, acting as though she was having contractions, and then our other tutor “played the part” of her midwife, giving her reassurance and carrying out examinations, and then when it came to the time when the baby was to be delivered we moved across the room to the Robot mannequin mum that we have in the skills lab, who delivered a tiny mannequin baby, with screams and rapid breathing and all – it was amazing to see! It also really hit home how much we have learnt – I was watching and thinking about what I would do in this situation and thinking about the anatomical changes etc – this, beyond anything else, made me feel almost ready to get out there!
Friday morning we had a lecture about safeguarding – all health care professionals need to be aware about vulnerable adults and children, and making sure they are being cared for by the right people and not being neglected, abused or taken advantage of – so this was our safeguarding awareness lecture which we legally have to have had before we head out on placement.
Then Friday afternoon we split off into our placement groups – our year are based at three hospitals in slightly different areas – so we all split off to discuss any concern we may have about going out onto placement, and to practise abdominal examinations (and working out the position of the foetus), manual blood pressure, maternal observations and all the other skills we have been learning before we head out.
Now, apparently we are ready, ready to head out and start working with women. My first placement is on the community so today my alarm went off at 6am, had a speedy breakfast, got into my uniform and hopped in my little blue car to drive to meet my mentor for 8am (I HATE being late so I’m allowing loads of time to do the 40/45 minute drive and find the place without risking being late if I get a tiny bit lost – essentially, I know my navigational skills!) I am so excited – I’ve only been on this journey a matter of weeks but I really do feel ready to get out there – even if all it does is make we realise how little I know and how much more I have to learn. Watch this space for an update on just what I get up to this week!
To read last week’s “Midwife Mondays” post, click here.