Hello! My name is Chloe, and I am a second-year student midwife at Chelmsford campus. I live at home with my partner, about 25 minutes from campus, and although I do not live in halls or in Chelmsford city centre, I still manage to enjoy days and nights out with my midwifery friends! Which is one of the things I also love about this degree, is that you truly do find friends for life; your cohort will be your absolute support system throughout your studies!
I am also a Welcome Buddy, Student Ambassador for the university, and part of the 2022-2023 Midwifery Society.
After such a full-on week back in university last week, I wanted to share with you a typical theory block week of a second-year student midwife who aims to find the balance of university and general life.
I aimed to start the week off in the right mindset with some yoga (nothing fancy, just a free YouTube session in the comfort of my own living room!). Then, I had to crack on with prereading for tomorrow’s skills session and other lectures this week. I personally find that doing the prereading or looking over the lecture material before the class, I am able to understand the content a little better – I have attended a couple of lectures without having done the prereading, safe to say, do your prereading!
Tip: Organisation and time management is key for this degree. However, we are all human, therefore there will be times you do not manage to do the prereading. If this is the case, go back over the Canvas page and lecture materials as soon as you are able, giving you a better chance of not falling behind – which can sometimes be so easily done!
Today was a skills day for our Safe and Effective module. All skills days start at 9am and typically finish around 3-4pm, with an hour for lunch at midday. The topic was: Newborn Life Support (NLS).
I personally love a skills day as I find I learn best when ‘doing’. This course has so many different learning techniques, which is great as it enables everyone to have a fair opportunity for learning and retaining vital information for our careers. I did feel a little overwhelmed when prereading for NLS, however, I did not need to worry. I LOVED the skills session! Our lecturer gave information and the management plan in bite size chunks, so throughout the day we were able to learn and practice a step before moving onto the next step.
8.15pm Tap Class. In a bid to have more scheduled 'Me Time' I recently joined a dance school. Having something outside the degree that you enjoy is so needed, it is a full-on, hard degree that is both physically and mentally draining, so take every opportunity to ensure you rest, de-stress, and also enjoy your life.
10am-12pm was our Safe and Effective online (Microsoft Teams) lecture. Online meant not having to be in on campus so I was home for the day and in my comfies!
Although being at home has its benefits, there was still an online formative (practice) self-medicate exam scheduled for today. This is an eLearning drug calculation module that we have each year to ensure we are learning the correct conversions and calculations to prepare and administer drugs. It is so important to ensure correct dosages are given as it very much can be a life-or-death matter for some. So, I had a quick session of revision before I took the exam. The bonus of an eLearning module is that results are instant (unlike the rest of our exams), therefore I knew straight away whether I passed or not… luckily, I passed!
As I had an appointment on campus today with the university’s free Counselling and Wellbeing Service at midday, I decided to spend the day on campus. I like to switch up my study/locations between the Student Union Lounge and the Library, today it was the library. With a busy week last week, I had a build-up of what I call 'life admin'. For me this includes catching up with emails, paying bills, messaging back friends/family, as well as continue planning and organising my elective placement for this summer. As president of the Midwifery Society, I also touched base with the committee members to see how everyone was getting on with their delegated tasks for our upcoming events.
In the afternoon, I spent time revising for our Complexities written exam that is scheduled in April. The Complexities module involves pre-existing and pregnancy related conditions, and situations - for example, hypertension, diabetes, preterm labour, and perinatal mental health.
Today was another skills session but for a different module: Practicing Midwife 2. Today’s session involved practicing cannulation, venepuncture, intravenous (IV) skills and theatre skills. For some students it was a day to practice skills they had not yet completed out in placement (for me this was cannulation), and for others it gave them further opportunity to practice the skills they had already done (for me I love taking bloods, it is incredibly satisfying!).
Once home, I decided to tackle some more revision for my Complexities exam, before getting ready to chill for the evening.
On theory blocks you have weekends 'off', so there are no lectures. Usually, it is no rest for the wicked, so typically you can find me at my laptop revising or doing pre reading for the following week’s lectures. However, this weekend I did take the rare full weekend to relax, do some more yoga, spend time with my other half, and see family. The evening was spent having dinner and laughs with the in laws.
My Sunday consisted of enjoying a Sunday morning lay in, blitzing the house clean, dashing out to the local shops for an additional (extremely last-minute) gift for Mother’s Day, then finally prepping and cooking a lovely dinner for my mum, who came over late afternoon.
Cannulation – is the procedure in which we insert a device called a cannula to give fluids and drugs directly into the vein.
Canvas – a learning platform used for teaching materials, module content and information, assignment submissions and course information.
Elective Placements – in second year the University schedule time in your timetables for an optional placement which is fully organised and funded by you. This can be within your Trust (and therefore not an observational role), at another Trust or service within the UK (observational only), or with an organisation outside the UK. This is an opportunity to have invaluable experience for your future job prospects.
Hypertension – is a common condition where there is constantly high blood pressure in your blood vessels meaning your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body.
Intravenous (IV) skills – included preparation of drugs (fake for university skills use) or fluids and setting up equipment for infusion through a cannula into the blood stream.
Perinatal Mental Health – mental health problems such as anxiety, depression/postnatal depression, obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and postpartum psychosis. These can occur during pregnancy or in the first year following birth.
Preterm Labour – birth of a baby before 37 weeks gestation (term).
Venepuncture – (aka taking bloods) collecting samples of blood via a needle into blood bottles with consent, in order to do delegated tests.