In this blog, Amber tells us about their placement experience. In the first year of studying a midwifery degree, student midwives get a chance to experience community, postnatal, and labour placement. Labour placements are usually split into high-risk units and low-risk birthing units.
I was thrown into the deep end. Within six weeks of being on the BSc (Hons) Midwifery course I was on a high risk labour ward. I loved the placement but it was a shock to the system.
The first day
My first day came round, I was a bundle of nerves and I couldn't even stomach breakfast (make sure you have breakfast because you WILL get hungry!). I entered the ward and found my mentor. Having never worked in a hospital, saying I was scared was an understatement! My mentor was amazing and helped me settle my nerves straight away. We took handover and went to look after our labouring woman.... things didn't go to plan and we ended up in theatre for a c-section. Something I wasn't expecting! But it was incredible. When the baby was born I had a little tear!
The placement continued and I assisted my mentor looking after high risk women. I saw some natural births and lots of c-sections. We looked after women with minor complications and women who needed high levels of care to ensure them and their babies were safe. It was a lot to take in but I loved every minute of it. I managed to personally facilitate 3 births on this placement which count towards the overall 40 that I need to qualify.
My second placement was community. I was placed with a midwife who cared for teenage pregnancies. We met with a wide variety of women whilst running clinics and often seeing them again postnatally. I was able to see the continuity of care in place and it was great to see the relationship my mentor built with the women in her care.
In community you tend to do shorter days but more days a week. We ran clinics throughout the week during the day and then saw the postnatal women after the clinics and on the weekends. It was great to see the antenatal care provided and assist in preparing women for labour and parenthood.
My last placement for year one was on the postnatal ward. Every ward is so different and you see a different aspect of midwifery care at each one.
A lot of the mums and babies on the postnatal ward are unwell and have to stay in hospital. During their stay you have to complete daily checks on mum and baby, administer medications and support with feeding. I found it great to watch new mums become confident in things like feeding and changing their babies. You see the bond between them grow and this is magical. Before woman are discharged you have to complete a discharge chat and give them a basic understanding of what's to come. We include things about feeding, registering the baby, bathing the baby and always highlight common health problems with mum and baby so the mum is aware of what to do if any problems occur once they have gone home.
The placement experience
Each placement throughout my first year taught me different things and I worked alongside different midwives who also taught me lots of different things. During each placement I was able to pick up skills and mannerisms which will guide me to become the midwife I want to be.
Although some wards are tougher than others it's important to take as much as you can from each learning opportunity and enjoy each one!
By Amber Sage
BSc (Hons) Midwifery
If you’re interested in this, or other undergraduate degree courses, find out more at an Open Day.