So last year before I started my course I wrote an essentials list for midwifery students (which you can read here). After a year of working with what I had and envying some of the things my classmates had, I thought it would be a good idea to update a little! This is the placement list, for when you’re on the wards with women every day.
Black pens: this will never change. Buy a hundred. Keep them in your placement bags, your folder, your locker, your pockets. Don’t do what I do and stick them in your hair because 1. bacteria and 2. you’ll hug someone and poke them in the eye with it.
Fob watches: multiple fob watches. Preferably silicone because they’re easier to clean and there are no nooks and crannies for microbes to hide in.
Small notebook: to scribble down notes, medications, disorders, lab values…really anything and everything on placement. I prefer ring bound notebooks because they hold up a little better being pulled out of my pockets and jammed back in with pens and gloves and all the other junk in my pockets.
Hair ties and pins: to keep your hair neat. I also found myself giving women my bobbins a lot, especially on the labour ward. So now I always bring a few extra.
A journal: I love love love my reflective journal. It’s another purchase from the Happy Planner Company but any wee notebook will be perfect. It’s a really good way of working through your day once it’s over and you get a chance to sit down. Always always always keep confidentiality in mind when you’re writing. I came up with a few different ways of coding the identities of people in my care so now when I read back even I’m not 100% sure who’s who!
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The second week of my first placement really only starts tomorrow – I've two long days and a short day, and I'm ready for it. I have to confess, like lots of other humans probably do, I was having a bit of a wobble. I was overthinking and raising expectations for myself that no one else was. But I sat down with my @thehappyplanner_co reflective journal, wrote about my last shift (Thursday) and everything just felt better. Writing has always been great therapy for me, it's the way I work things out. Don't forget to find the right way to work things out for yourself ✨ . . . . . . . . #studentmidwife #futuremidwife #reflectivemidwife #reflectivepractice #reflectivejournal #midwiferyjournal #midwiferystudent #babycatcher
Snacks: so many snacks. Different kinds – sweet, savoury, energy boosting, chocolate goodness. Think about what will be filling but not too heavy and what will give you a lasting energy lift for those long shifts.
Water bottle: label it. Label it all over. Hydration is super important and especially so when you’re running around non stop all day.
Spare socks: your feet will get sweaty. Like really sweaty, so sometimes it’s just nice to change them during the day. When I used to work in a nursing home, especially in the summer when it was boiling hot and the heating was on full blast, it was lovely to sit down, throw a bit of talc on my toes, and put on fresh socks. Also you will definitely get some kind of bodily fluid all over and inside your shoes at some stage, so be ready!
Spare uniform: just in case.
Plastic bags: for bringing uniforms in and out. It’s a habit I picked up working in McDonald’s, basically to protect the clothes and protect your belongings from contact contamination.
Reference book: I have my survival guide in my locker all the time on placement. It’s just handy to have it there if I want to check anything on my breaks or go over something like a skill that I know I’ll be doing later in the day.
Deodorant: spray and roll on. Spray deodorant can irritate the respiratory system especially if they have disorders like asthma. I bring face wipes and bits like that as well just so I can freshen up during the day.
So that’s my take on the essentials for placement. If you think I’ve missed anything let me know in the comments! Keep an eye out for “what’s in my pocket” posts for the various wards you work on as a student midwife.