Midwife Mondays 98: Paediatric ICU, Visiting the Mortuary, Finishing 2nd Year!

I can’t actually believe I’m writing this, but here we go: I’ve finished 2nd Year!

Well, kinda. Officially I’m not done with 2nd Year until I’ve done my 3 weeks of elective placement, but as I don’t start those for another 2 weeks, and then they are nicely spread out until I finally come back to start 3rd year in mid-September, it really feels like 2nd year is done and my holidays have started!

Plus, all my submissions are done. Which, I suppose is the main thing that makes me tick off the box that says ‘2nd year’. The big book of paperwork that needs about 900 signatures in for the year is done. Gone. Submitted. Eek!
My essays are done and submitted.
The huge drug workbook we had to do is all finished and sent off online.
All the boxes are ticked.

Really, my elective weeks feel like a kinda middle-man placement. Like I’ve finished 2nd year and not yet started 3rd year. Maybe that’s how I’ll view it.

Anyway, last week was the final official week of 2nd year – and I was actually only in for 3 days.

The first day I was in the hospital to do another of my non-midwifery shifts, this time on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit for the day. The first thing that struck me about PICU was that it really is the whole spectrum of paediatrics. In one bed there will be a sedated 14 year old on ventilation, and in the bed next to him there will be a 6 month old who has a tracheostomy to help her breathe, but who is completely conscious and needs all the attention and entertaining that a normal 6 month old needs. It was a really interesting day, and even though it was completely observational, I felt like I learned a lot about the set up of paediatric intensive care and how it works – and it certainly gave me a huge amount of respect for the incredible nurses who work there; talk about versatility!

While I was in the hospital I also needed to complete my grading for my delivery unit placement as we didn’t manage to get round to it on my last shift, so I headed over and met up with my mentor to get that done. She had hinted throughout the placement that she was very pleased with my progression and performance, but when it came to the final grading, I was absolutely buzzing to get 10/10 for all but one of the things we are marked for (professionalism, communication, clinical reasoning etc) and 9/10 for the remaining one, so got 98% for my placement – SO SO pleased with that!

The second day this week was a uni day. We were in for our final lectures of the year, as well as to finalise all our paperwork and get the final few bits signed by our tutors. We had a lecture from a Mental Health nurse, covering a vast range of mental health conditions that we might come across and then it was lunchtime. It was a bit odd sitting there at lunch knowing that the next time we all had lunch together we would be in our final year – eek!

After lunch, we all had a brief chat about our elective placements and some of the admin things for the start of next year and then it was paperwork time. Once my tutor had signed everything and I was all set, I headed straight to the main campus with my coversheet in hand. It’s always a nervous moment when you hand over the book that you’ve worked so hard to complete, with so many signatures and your placement gradings etc in. What if they lose it? Should I have taken pictures of every page? You’ve worked so very hard to complete every page in the book, to then hand it over to a complete stranger, with nothing but a coversheet to guarantee it goes to the right person for marking etc – it’s scary!

Anyway, I handed it in, and walked back to the car feeling about a million times lighter – no more placements objectives or skills to get signed until we get our final year’s book in mid-September, and that’s the really scary one. The one that literally has a page in it that your final mentor has to sign that states that they thing you are skilled enough to qualify as a midwife – holy crap is that scary!

My third day was a day I’ve been trying to organise for a while – a day in the mortuary, observing a fatal post-mortem. This was the last few hours I needed for my non-midwifery placement and was really interesting! I was toured around the mortuary, and saw an adult post-mortem in process, and then we headed in to the paediatric post-mortem room. It was fascinating to see the anatomy we have studied in such depth so close up – really helpful for our NIPE qualification for next year, I’m sure! It was also really lovely to see the baby treated with such respect by the team; lifted gently and things, it was really respectful. Yes, it was sad to see, but I tried to detach as much as I could from the emotional side of it, purely from a self-preservation viewpoint; and I think it was easier not knowing too much about the background of this baby too.

After the post-mortem was done, I headed home and M & I celebrated with a nice chilled evening in together – Second year; DONE!

I can’t tell you the sense of relief to feel like this year is finished. They aren’t kidding when they tell you second year is tough. It really is. Seriously seriously tough. It has pushed me to my limit more than once. It has brought me to tears. It has had me bent over my organiser literally planning when I am going to have the time to do any written work…and working out which nights I can afford to cut down on sleep so I can get everything done. My body has reached its limit, more than once, and emotionally I’ve been all over the place for months (and through all this, M has been INCREDIBLE – I wouldn’t have put up with half the crap he has over the past few months!)

And now, it’s finally done. I’ve got two whole weeks off now to relax, rest and recoup before I head off to start my amazing elective placement (I posted about it last week so click here if you haven’t had a read yet!) and I’m so excited!
All the work of this year is done, and now I’ve just got one more year to go and I’ll be a fully qualified midwife – oh my god, writing that down is scary! Eek!

To read last weeks Midwife Mondays post, click here:

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