No not Community service before anyone makes the joke! I shall for the next 6 weeks be working alongside a Community midwife and getting a glimpse of the work that they do.
A week before I was due to go out I rang my Community mentor to arrange where I was going to meet her. Unfortunately her response was not what I expected "well you won't be meeting me, I'm on annual leave for two weeks, back in for two weeks and then off again for two weeks, I don't know why they gave me a student".....which left me with a goldfish look on my face and thinking "oh no here we go again". Though to her credit she did sort it out within a couple of hours, and a midwife in her team rang to arrange for me to go out with her instead. So already it was a big improvement as I hadn't had to sort it out myself.
So fast forward to Thursday and my first shift out with my new mentor and I was feeling quite nervous. She put me instantly at ease and chatted with me about what I thought a Community Midwife did. We then went out to some postnatal home visits where she got me just to observe; a few discharges and a heel prick later and I was done for the day. She had another visit to do but as a really sensitive one, she decided not to take me with her. So I took the opportunity to go to the library and get some work done on my assignment.
The next day I met her at the clinic where we booked in three women who were between 8-10 weeks pregnant. I observed the first two and then she let me book in the third lady. I was really pleased that she gave me the opportunity so quickly but also that she supported me in it. She was right on hand to help me should I need it, but she also wasn't looking over my shoulder and making me nervous. It meant I felt completely comfortable, knowing she wouldn't let me make a silly mistake, or miss something out and that she was there to provide the more detailed information about the blood tests that I don't know yet. After finishing at the clinic we had just one visit and again we were done for the day. Two half days....I could get used to this lol.
I opted to work the Saturday as well as my mentor wasn't working the Bank Holiday Monday and I'd end up short on my hours. We had 6 visits in total to do, which included one discharge and five heel pricks. I'd already been told that she'd be letting me do the heel pricks as it would be good experience to do so many at once. So we started off at the hospital to put the ladies we'd booked the day before onto the computer system. The first two went like clockwork and then on the third the computer did something strange and was trying to add an additional pregnancy that the lady had never had. So it took us a little while to sort that out and whilst doing that my mentor received a phone call about another lady that needed to be seen. We went to see her first and whilst we were there, my mentor could find no record of the baby having had her heel prick test done - she'd been back into the hospital and on antibiotics and on discussion with the hospital, it appeared not to have been done. So this resulted is us being in this lady's house for rather longer than anticipated. It also meant we didn't have enough heel prick kits with us so we'd need to go back to the hospital.
The next few visits were fine and I did the heel prick test on the babies whilst my mentor filled in the paperwork. In case you don't know what the heel prick test is, you can read more about it here
The test itself is really simple....even more simple than when they did them on my own babies at 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 years ago - they use a little blade rather than a needle and it's very simple to use. It was a nice thing to check off my list as having done.
We completed all of our visits, including returning to the hospital to collect an extra heel prick kit and an extra visit that had been requested by someone in a bit of pain postnatally. So by the time we eventually finished for the day it was 4 pm, which for a Saturday was a long day. On the plus side I got lots of practice at doing the heel prick test, lots of time to chat with my mentor, some time in a mental health facility (not as an inmate!) where I waited in the office whilst my mentor carried out an antenatal - very sensitive situation so I won't be discussing it on my blog. I am getting on so well with my mentor that I asked her if it would be possible to stay with her for the remainder of my placement period this semester; it seems daft to switch to my original named mentor for just one week. She seems equally as happy with me and said she would ask her team leader if it was possible so I am keeping my fingers crossed. it would be brilliant to have some continuity.