They all told us that this course would fly by, but I never really believed them – but it really does! In a years time I will have finished my course, my pin will have come through and I’ll be starting my new job as a fully qualified midwife! Can’t quite believe it!
So our first week started with all of us together – three years of midwifery students in one big lecture hall – felt like a proper team!
As part of our uniform, we have epaulettes on our shoulders with stripes on – one in first year, two in second year etc, so one of the first things we did was go up to the front, one by one and collect our three-striped epaulettes and a scary new name badge that says “Final Year Student Midwife” on it – eek!
As this was the first time we had all seen each other since our elective placements, the rest of the day was spent telling the group about what we had been up to – we each had to make a 5 minute presentation about where we had been and what we had experienced and it was so lovely to see what everyone had been up to. Others had been to the Philippines, Vietnam, Sweden and Sri Lanka as well as several different trusts in the UK and it was so lovely to hear about the different places people had been and the different things they had experienced!
On our second day back we spent the first couple of hours going through a load of admin things; chats about paperwork, lateness, uniform policy, data protection, social media etc just to remind us of our responsibilities on the course.
We also had a talk from the Employability woman from the University who told us a bit more about the NHS job application process and the type things we can be doing to support our job applications – talk about reminding us early on that we don’t have much time left, eh! We should be sending off our applications around February time so I’ll be sure to share a bit more about that nearer the time – eek!
After that it was straight into the actual work! In previous years, pretty much the whole of the first week has been spent doing admin or module introductions, but by thursday we were straight in, working on our Newborn Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) module. This is the extra qualification that I get with my degree on this course that means I am a NIPE qualified midwife when I qualify (normally a qualification you do a bit further down the line, but hopefully should make us a little more employable when we graduate!)
We jumped straight in talking about the initial conversation with the parents about the family medical history, in case there is anything that jumps out which could affect the baby. Our lecturer then did a full NIPE examination on a NIPE doll for us to remind us of all the aspects that we need to include. We have to do a load of these examinations in practice over the next few months and get them signed off, and then we have an exam in January which, if we pass, will get us our NIPE qualification!
In the afternoon we leaned more about the examination of the Genitalia and the kind of conditions we should be looking for which could indicate abnormalities there. These are very important to pick up and have referred as soon as possible as it could mean that the baby appears to be male but internally is female or vice versa.
On the Friday we were focussing on different skin conditions that the newborn can present with, which are serious and which are normal. At the end of the day, a NIPE is screening and so it is simply assessing for abnormalities and referring if there is anything outside of normal, so we need to know what is normal, but we also need to know the type of conditions that may present themselves so we are able to discuss this with the parents during the examination if they ask – we can’t diagnose these conditions but we have to explain why we are making the referral and then type things that they will be looking for.
We finished a little bit early on the Friday afternoon which was nice; partly because it meant I could get away before the normal Friday traffic but also, after six weeks away from the hospital and even longer away from uni, our brains were a similar consistency to scrambled egg after being chucked in at the deep end in the first week back!
Luckily, I had a chilled weekend planned (my first at home since the beginning of August!) M was away for the weekend so I spent most of the weekend doing laundry, cooking, and general planning of the next few weeks, as well as a long hot bath (including face mask and hair mask!) which was lovely – definitely needed a couple of days to recoup and get my head back in the game so that was good!
To read my last Midwife Mondays post, click here: