I had always loved biology at school and had it in the back of my mind that one day I would retrain to become a midwife. I was lucky enough to have a connection with a midwife and lecturer of midwifery who persuaded me that this dream, which I had set my heart on, was more obtainable than I thought. Within the year I had applied and been accepted to Anglia Ruskin University.
The university itself is local to me. I had heard excellent things about the practice partners they work with, and I had an idea of the hospital I wanted to train at. I enquired before applying and discovered that Anglia Ruskin had high employment rates in the hospital trusts that students train in, that they were part of the baby initiative scheme and that they were intending to start the Newborn Infant Physical Examination module for the cohort I would be applying for, therefore providing me with an extra and highly sought-after qualification. For me, where to study was an easy decision.
I believe midwifery to be a highly rewarding career and I am incredibly proud to be on this journey. Midwives are the main care provider for pregnant women, their families and newborn infants and play an incredibly important role in healthcare. I have been privileged to be at the birth of many babies, in both calm and also difficult situations. I have always enjoyed the variability of the work, meeting new people, new situations and learning how to care for women throughout their whole childbirth journey.
Although it has been a very rewarding career path so far, there have been times when I have questioned whether I have the resilience needed to be a midwife. I believe that midwifery is sometimes seen as a career filled with beautiful, happy moments and cuddling babies. Unfortunately, in some very sad cases, not every pregnancy or birth has a positive outcome, and to remain professional yet still be compassionate and caring towards a woman who has lost a child, has challenged me more than I ever thought possible. In these moments I have found my fellow students around me, mentors, tutors and family and friends invaluable. They have encouraged me and supported me throughout my training and I have found this a key part of my journey so far.
My time at university has given me opportunities to take on responsibilities alongside my studies. For all three years of my degree I have been elected as student representative for my cohort, allowing me to attended meetings and forums to improve student satisfaction. The University has many roles such as this to help students find avenues to improved leadership and communication skills, crucial to a career in healthcare. The course itself has vastly improved my confidence in my ability to work under pressure, to communicate with a variety of different people in various ways, and prioritise time effectively.
At the start of my course I was only interested in completing my studies and becoming a 'midwife', whatever that meant. What I have found during university and out on placement is that there are numerous career paths for people with a midwifery degree to follow. I have worked alongside specialist midwives in diabetes, continence and bereavement. I have met managers who were previously practising midwives and I have found a personal interest in lecturing as a potential future career option.
As I near the end of my studies and look forward to graduating, I am excited to see new students coming through and cannot wait to become a mentor myself. I think if someone is thinking of applying to midwifery, the best advice I have is to speak to as many people in the profession as possible and to remain positive.
Applying can be a difficult process and the degree itself is challenging. Therefore, I would encourage applicants to surround themselves with supportive people and to work hard to be the best candidate and future midwife they possibly can. We need special people like this in our healthcare system.