It’s no lie to say it’s been a tough year for everybody. But those who have been present working or studying within the NHS during these times can stand by me saying this was a complete challenge. Starting a degree during this time added a weight to the load.
Learning revolved around Zoom meetings, Microsoft Teams, Canvas material and self-directed learning, which will never beat being sat face-to-face in a lecture hall and in a focused mindset to learn as adequately as possible. Especially for a first year starting out, you're excited to meet new people and to live the full university experience.
Although the circumstances didn’t help, ARU and my Trust did everything in their power to ensure we had the best possible learning experience. Learning was mainly based online using Zoom and Microsoft Teams for class interaction which involved our lecturers going through PowerPoints, showing video clips, discussions on topics and answer any questions anyone had on a topic.
We were also lucky to have three skill sessions in the labs in Young Street. Not only was it nice to get to practice skills such as palpation, venepuncture and catheterisation, but we also got to put faces to names and not look at everyone through a screen. It’s safe to say we were professionals in hand washing, donning and doffing by the end of skills, as we wore PPE to avoid the spread of covid.
Going out to placement, it was inevitable that I was the most nervous I’ve ever been. Everyone was speaking about how hectic and under pressure the hospital was. And like any first year I started to contemplate: did I know enough to go out? Was I just going to be in the way?
Within a week out on my community placement, I was in love with midwifery. When my lecturers were telling me “Everything will click” and “you know more than you think you know” they were 100% right on that one. The midwives were unbelievably supportive and understanding of our circumstances. They helped in looking for learning opportunities to get skills signed off and to just gain experience.
Yes, the hospital was hectic, staffing wasn’t ideal and Covid was present, but it by no means affected my experience, if anything it made it better as I learned so much about infection control.
Without a doubt my first year of midwifery has challenged me and most definitely made me doubt myself at times, but my love for midwifery has done nothing but grow. Even in such difficult times, families are still starting and growing with little ones being born. I’ve had the privilege to assist five beautiful babies into the world and I have loved every second.
So, for new students joining the world of midwifery, don’t let Covid be the reason you don’t pursue your career. Take every opportunity that comes your way and enjoy every second.
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