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  • 07 January 2019
  • 9 min read

5 things I wish I knew before starting midwifery

  • Louisa Lewis
    Student Midiwfe

Louisa, a student midwife and one of our fab influencers, gives you an insight to student midwifery and the 5 things she wishes she knew before she started.

Play video: Louisa talks about the things she wishes she knew before starting her midwifery course.

Hey, welcome back to my channel!

So today's video is going to be five things I wish I knew before starting midwifery.

This video is also going to be sponsored by Nurses.co.uk, which is a website where you can find out a whole range of Nursing information, but it also has a blog section which I think is the best part for most of you guys who are student midwives or future student midwives. Check out what tips and tricks and blogs they have there because that's a great thing for us to know, and also we can transfer some of those skills and some of those tips and tricks onto us.

Now let's get into this video!

So five things.

I think you might be a bit shocked at some of them and some of them you might be like ‘yeah I can imagine that’.

Hopefully if you haven't started uni yet, or if you are but start next September then these will be more helpful for you, but or if you have just started placement hopefully some of these would be helpful for you as well just to pre-warn you so you can kind of get an idea.

It’s hard to count...

It's such a silly thing - so basically but didn't realise how hard it is to count!

I don't know how to put it other than that, which may make it seem like it doesn't make sense.

I'm not bragging but I got an A in maths so I should be good at counting - it was five years ago to be fair!

But yeah, like it's really hard trying to concentrate on like listening to what you're hearing, counting it and making sure you're still like within your minute.

And then also sometimes the parents will be asking you questions or the baby will do something really cute and then you lose count, or say they have an older sibling and their older siblings asking you questions.

You just have all this noise around you.

Taking a woman's pulse sometimes - she's talking to you because obviously you don't have a stethoscope in so there's nothing to put that barrier between you two where they're like 'okay let's not talk to them' so they start talking to you and you’re just like ‘I’m just trying to count your pulse! Stop talking to me!”

Or you’re trying to count their breaths - you can’t exactly say ‘please stop talking because I need to count your breaths’ like you can't because then they get self-conscious about breathing and then you might not count the right amount.

I don't think I've actually counted past 60 and counting past 60 for me takes a minute - I get to about 80 or 90 and I forget which number I'm on, and then I'm like ‘ah crap!’.

I don't think I have in my whole teenage life - well I'm not a teenager I'm 21 - I probably haven't counted past 60 casually for fun and consecutively, I mean I haven’t counted beyond 60 since I was probably a child, like trying to show my mom like ‘oh look I can count up until a hundred’ like you do as a kid.

So that was really hard like just counting and trying to stay focused and make sure all your numbers correct because like you know you're taking someone's weight or something it's important so yeah that was surprisingly harder than I thought.

I wish I knew that prior to starting the course or starting placement so that I could practice counting for that long of a time and with distractions.

'But it's so beautiful and it's amazing and I love those days because I feel like those days where I feel emotionally spent means that I have given that person all my love and support.'

I wish I knew how emotionally draining it would be

Midwifery jobs can be so emotionally draining at times, like I knew I was gonna be physically tired because I would do 12 hour shifts but I didn't really know that with some women you look after it can take a lot out of you.

Sometimes you are just giving and giving and giving them everything or at least the majority of what you have to give.

You're giving them your love, you're giving them emotional support, you're encouraging them, you're doing all these positive things for them and at the end of the day it can be so emotionally draining at times.

But it's so beautiful and it's amazing and I love those days because I feel like those days where I feel emotionally spent means that I have given that person all my love and support and it means that person has had extra love that day and I love the fact that I get to do that. But yeah but I wish I'd been pre-warned about that.

So, you guys, it can be so emotionally draining at times!

Be prepared to have different mentors on placements

So sometimes you may be assigned to have one mentor, however life's unpredictable.

They may be ill so you have to work with someone else or they may have swapped their shifts and they might swapped it after whoever makes your rotas had made your placement rota, so there could just be like miscommunication and you miss each other and stuff like that.

So be prepared to have different mentors.

And then this kind of leads into thing number four which is…

Be prepared to be told that you're doing something wrong

I say it like that because a lot of the time you get taught one thing by one person and then someone told you something else, and sometimes they're not even nice about it like ‘okay you do it that way but we do it this way’ or ‘I do it this way this way sometimes’.

They’re like ‘you're doing it wrong’ or ‘you should not do that’ and you don’t understand why.

So at uni you’re taught best practice for majority of things, basically everything, and they just do it differently e.g. blood pressures; they did not do it the way that we're taught to do it.

Injections - so we weren't taught to aspirate we're taught to like zigzag to pull the skin, so in, inject, let go because that way like less leakage comes up, however a lot of midwives aspirate so go in, they see if any blood comes out then put the injection in.

We asked our lecturers as well and they said you don’t really do that, like you don't really have to do that, because if you've got into a vein or an artery or whatever the blood will automatically go up the needle like it's just pressure and different pressure volumes like it would automatically do that.

But yeah it's like certain things, so especially if you have different mentors or you work with different people because your mentor is not in, you may have learnt one way with your mentor but someone else will work a different way and so you’ve just got to be adaptable.

Learn that other way and then just do it that way to appease that person and then in your brain just learn which way you like better and use that I save that for your repertoire for when you qualify.

But whatever you feel more confident doing, do it it this way and make sure you have a reason for it, make sure there's evidence to back you up for why you gonna do something that way or make sure you're saying this is just a personal preference.

There’s a loss of freedom

I miss having the opportunity to go on holiday and I mean the choice and the opportunity because you know sometimes I just don't have enough money to holiday.

I like having the option to do it if I could fund it like you know if I wanted to do it.

I say this because at least the way my uni course is laid is that we have only the major holidays off so two weeks Christmas, technically three as we have a reading week beforehand, to weeks at Easter and then three weeks in the summer.

Those are the most expensive times to go on holiday and I am NOT going on holiday then.

I do not have that money to be paying an extra three hundred pounds just to go on holiday then and it's only an extra three hundred pounds because the demand is so high and businesses can charge you more.

I get it makes sense to have holidays like that if you have children like sure fair enough like you signed up for that but I don't have kids right now and so I don't want to go on holiday at those times, I don't need to go on holiday at those times so I'm not a big fan of not having that option to go on holiday if I wanted to.

It’s kind of tough so my advice to you guys if you haven't started your course yet is go now, go on holiday whatever you can so that it's gone out of your system and you won't miss it so much.

Otherwise save up loads of money to pay that extra surplus because of the higher demand, and if you've started uni already, just next time you get your student loan budget in budget for a holiday for the summer because you're gonna need to wind down and detox.

So those are my five things I wish I knew before starting midwifery!

I hope you found that interesting and fun and I hope kind of useful to you and they give you a pre warning of what to expect and what to do when those things happen - if they happen.

Until next time, keep on being you, if you like this video give it a thumbs up, comment down below any questions or suggestions and don't forget to subscribe to get weekly updates!

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  • Louisa Lewis
    Student Midiwfe

About the author

  • Louisa Lewis
    Student Midiwfe

I'm a student Midwife studying at Kingston University, partnered with St. Georges in London. Alongside my uni work and placements, I also create vlogs for my channel, Being Louisa, and for Nurses.co.uk.