I have now been a student midwife for 7 weeks. It doesn't seem possible but we are already about to be released onto our first placement and for some it feels a very scary prospect.
Over the last 7 weeks we have been introduced to each of our subjects; some gently and others thrown in at the deep end. The biology, for example, is intense; one lecture on the cardiovascular system, one lecture on the respiratory system, one lecture on the endocrine system etc. It doesn't take long for us to realise that we will need to do a lot of self-study to keep up and to really know these systems properly.
For others, it is perhaps the midwifery skills that are more scary. Having had children myself, I found these lessons more reassuring that I wasn't out of my depth completely. Whilst I obviously don't know anywhere near enough yet about how to do the appropriate checks, I at least do know what they are e.g palpation, scans, urine analysis etc. I've attended enough of my own antenatal checks to know the drill. It's been enjoyable for me to find out what they are really doing these checks for and what the notes really meant. I remember reading LOA in my notes and I'd always assumed it meant 'left of abdomen' well now I know it means 'left occipito anterior' and what's more I understand what that means (in case you are wondering, it's the ideal position for the baby to be in, in preparation for birth. The head is down and the baby is facing towards the mothers spine, and curled round to the left of the mother's abdomen).
Academic skills has been an interesting one and it's been a challenge for some to understand why we are doing it. It's essentially a course to teach us how to do further reading, how to reference and make quotations and eventually write our assignments. For me, it's been really useful as it's been a long time since I was at school and certainly we didn't have the same resources for further reading that are around now. Those that have come from doing other degrees, or straight from school, are maybe finding it a bit easier. Though I still feel they can learn from the course.
So now I am on the cusp of my first placement and feeling really excited about it. I simply can't wait to start my real practical training. I am hoping for good mentors, and to be lucky enough to see some births. I am hoping my own experience as a breastfeeding mother helper will come in useful and that I can share my knowledge. I am also hoping to get more to grips with listening to blood pressures and performing abdominal examinations. The one thing I am really nervous about is needing to take blood. Not because I am scared of needles or blood, neither bother me, but because it was really difficult to get to grips with the technique on merely a dummy arm. With the abdominal examination, although we have only practiced with the dummies, at least we can't hurt anyone, the blood taking is another matter. In theory, we could damage nerves, or bruise the ladies and whilst I know our mentors will be on hand to support us, it's still a slightly nerve wracking thought. Still I have just over a week off now so shall of course be studying all I can in preparation......whilst enjoying the good weather ;)