Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A matter of confidence

When I completed the Community part of my placement, I was feeling quite confident of my abilities as a student midwife, felt that I was doing well with my training. Fast forward to now and my Delivery Suite placement and that confidence is gone. I was told at the beginning of my training that there would be times that I would question whether or not this career was for me, that my confidence could sink and rise relatively easily and whilst I'd believed them, this is the first time it's affected me.

So what happened to cause this dip in confidence? I think in part, it is due to me facing situations I haven't dealt with before, combined with working with people I haven't worked with before. One thing that really helps with training is continuity, particularly with regards to your mentor. Whilst it is also good to work with different people so that you can see how different people work and choose your own way of working, it's hard because you have to learn how they prefer to work and adapt quickly. I find it quite hard to adapt quickly. I take my time to settle into a new situation, and to settle to working with someone new. I like to observe initially and get an idea of how someone works, what they are like and then I settle and start showing what I am capable of. This is not always a good thing to do as when you are on a short placement, it means that you aren't showcasing your talents, then when it comes to being graded, you might be marked as not being confident. I'm hoping that when I'm on my next placement I can return to working with someone I already know.

Another reason my confidence has been knocked slightly is because of the new situations I have been facing. Prior to this placement I think I had been to theatre only 3 times and yet during this placement I spent most of my time in theatre - it happens! However it is definitely an area I wasn't so confident in, as I hadn't built up my skills yet. The first time I went to theatre, I scrubbed to take the baby so didn't really get to witness what happens. By the end of this placement I am now more confident - I can now scrub quickly, I know what needs to be done, although I've not been doing it all yet, I feel I have a better understanding of what happens.

I don't think I cared for someone having a normal, low risk labour either....women with blood pressure problems, epidurals, inductions etc... I certainly haven't looked after anyone who didn't need continuous monitoring and I am hoping to return to the midwife led unit in my 3rd year to remind myself what a low risk labour can be like! I have, however, improved some of my other skills - such as inserting a catheter, performing more vaginal examinations and beginning to feel like some of it makes sense. However this semester I received some of my lowest marks and that has definitely knocked my confidence. Grading is always a nerve wracking experience and we all hope for a good mark. I'm ok at assignments - not brilliant - but I do ok. I always hope for my placement grades to bring up my overall average though. When I started my course I had high hopes of achieving a 2:1 or possibly even a 1:1 but these days I just want a degree - that's not putting myself down, it's just that this course is blooming hard and it's so subjective to who is grading you. I want to do well, for myself but ultimately as long as I can be a midwife then that is all that matters!