Student Midwife Life: week 1.2

Time management has really gotten away from me these last few weeks. It feels a lot like there’s so much more to do than I can fit in. Sleeping and eating aren’t things I could put a hold on, so the weekly reflections were temporarily sacrificed. But I’m back! I’ll be posting the catchup pieces over the next week so keep those eyes peeled.


This week was even more intense than the last. We started off with our first midwifery skill session, baby bathing, which was a nice relaxing one to start with. We talked about why we would bathe babies on units, and why we might leave it until they go home. Vernix sounds slightly magical, I’ll definitely be doing a bit of research on it in the next few weeks.

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We also started on our midwifery theory with one of the most important parts: the pelvis. The first time round, sitting in the classroom, I have to admit that it was fairly mind melting. The language of anatomy is very technical and I’ve always struggled with memorising it, but there’s always a way through! After reviewing the notes when I went home (and ordering a pelvis to study with) I felt a lot more confident.


Our clinical skills this week were First Aid, and an introduction to Medication Management. Having been in the college before and completed various levels of First Aid training, a lot of it was familiar to me, but it always help to go over these things.


22104711_1996386737315553_8944569346518145973_oI had my first real class rep duty this week as well. I attended the programme board with reps from the other years of midwifery, our lecturers, and our heads of section. It was only slightly intimidating, but everyone is so friendly that it was easy to get comfortable in the short meeting time. We discussed the assessment schedule for the first semester and clarified what components can be repeated or not. It was a brief fifteen minute chat but I found it really nice to be able to put faces to names at last.


I finished the week with a teeny tiny bit of protesting: it was the annual March for Choice in Dublin (with solidarity marches around the world). You can read about why I marched here.


So that’s it! Another week over and done with, another set of skills studied. Time really is flying away from me. Six weeks from the end of this week, I’ll be finishing up the theory of semester one and getting ready to head out on placement, wherever that may be! Don’t forget to let me know how you’re getting on, wherever you are on your midwifery journey.



Student Midwife Life: week 1.1

I know, it’s a Saturday evening and I planned posts for Friday lunchtimes. But the wordpress post schedule button isn’t working right for me and neither has my planning! This week has just been so busy. I don’t know whether it’s because I haven’t settled into a plan yet or because I was just really unorganised, but here I am on Saturday with so much left to do!


This week we mainly had introductions to the modules that we have to complete in the first semester, which thankfully included the provisional assessment dates. My inner planner is delighted that we can make a plan now for the coming semester, right up to winter break. I had a bit of excitement as well: our class group had to choose reps to the student union and to the programme board, and my class have trusted me with half of the job (there are two reps in our class). I’m delighted to be trusted and I’m brimming with ideas to help the class.


21768311_1992097634411130_7205036964345981067_nWe had our first clinical skills labs during the week. We covered vital signs: temperature, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure, as well as nutrition support (helping people to eat and drink). For me it was a bit of a refresher, as I’ve done vital obs before. But I recognised that some of my classmates had never held a sphyg or a stethoscope before, and because of our timetable we hadn’t yet covered the theory so there was a bit of confusion. But the tutors were great, so patient, helpful and concise, and everyone seems to have left quite happy.


We also had a class on digital citizenship and how we as student midwives, professionals within the HSE, should conduct ourselves. I’ve read the NMBI Social Media Guidelines at least ten times but it’s always helpful to have things explained differently, and discussed in a specific context. You might see a few changes on the blog, on my facebook page, and on my instagram as I talk to some of the midwifery department staff and redefine the lines of what I’m willing to share.


28-praying_skeletonWe had our first classes in the Natural Sciences module this week: Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Anatomy and Physiology. Because I did a year of nursing in the college before, I was expecting it. But that didn’t make it much easier. If you’re like me and you haven’t really got a head for hard sciences, it can feel impossible. Just remember, you will get through it. Picture on the left is a very realistic depiction of me, first time round, hoping I wouldn’t fail. And I didn’t! I didn’t hear of anyone failing. It’s all doable one way or another. As midwives we’ll be taught to adapt to any situation, react quickly to whatever we find. No better time to start practising that than in first year sciences!


So, how is your course going? What are you enjoying? What subjects are going a bit over your head? Let me know in the comments!

Student Midwife Life: week 1.0

Hello, dear readers! It’s been a crazy few weeks between registering for college, meeting classmates, and shopping, packing and moving to Dundalk . But things are starting to settle down now, which is brilliant, because in all honesty I am completely exhausted. I know, I know, if I’m exhausted now what will I be like at the end of the semester? I’ve missed solid routine though, and it’s close now.


Anyway, I’m going to be doing weekly posts about what I’m learning, what my class is getting up to, and what I’m struggling with (because it can’t all be plain sailing). Right now the plan is to post every Friday around lunchtime. Initially I wasn’t sure if I would have enough to write about week to week, but looking over course plans I know I’ll have more than enough. But let’s jump right in!


I actually missed the first day. I was coming back from a wedding, and toddled up to Dundalk in the evening. I was honestly sick with nerves and excitement. I was fidgeting all over my room, packing and unpacking and rearranging my bag. I almost forgot to set my alarm, it was a near disaster!


But all went off without a hitch. I got up nice and early, relaxed with my morning mocha, did my makeup, and headed off. I have to say, if it hadn’t been for getting to know a few other mature students before I went in I would have been a wreck. It was such a relief to walk into my building and be greeted with smiles and familiar faces. Even walking in with my friend was so much easier than walking in alone. If you can get to know people beforehand, DO IT!


We had lots of talks (in the whole 130 person first year group) and icebreakers (in the group of 20 midwives). We had a scavenger hunt across the campus, lunches together, visits from union reps, and lots of talks from occupational health, the placement office, and student services. We went through booklists, how to access Moodle, some college policies, and what to expect in the course. There’s always an overwhelming amount of information to take in on orientation week, but it always makes me glad that DkIT is a small campus, it’s impossible to get lost for very long. Already it feels like home again, and I don’t think I could be happier!


Now, on Thursday, I had to miss another day. This was a big day. While the rest of my midwifery group were getting fitted for their uniforms and finishing the next step in their Garda Vetting (which I’ll be catching up on as this post goes live), I was getting my McDonald’s Scholarship. €1000 for an essay on improving service for customers – I wrote about breastfeeding families and families with additional needs (despite never needing them, I’m always sad when I see disabled bathrooms with no proper facility for people above the age of two). It was a great morning, up in the Celtic Suite of Croke Park with my franchise owners, my family, my partner, and the other winners. We had a lovely lunch, lots of pictures taken, and I managed to not fall out of the stands. I’ve had fantastic support from my store and my franchise since day one, so it was nice to celebrate with them and talk about what’s up next. I was hoping to be sent pictures by this morning but I’ll post them as soon as I have them!


That’s pretty much it for my first week as a student midwife. Starting as I mean to go on, as busy as possible! Have you just started a new course, or gone back? Let me know how you’re getting on in the comments


Essentials for Midwifery

Well, the majority of offers are out and there are lots of excited future midwives around the country (and around the world). But what do you need as a student midwife? What’s the most important thing to pack in your bag? I’ve put together a list of what I won’t be leaving behind!
  • LOTS of black pens: they’re one of the most valuable things to have on the wards!
  • A5 notebook to go in your pocket on placement: great for taking note of what’s going on during the day, scribbling down words or phrases you don’t quite understand, keeping track of keycodes and staff names
  • Silicone fob watches: don’t buy expensive ones, they’ll get wrecked. Silicone is easy to clean and comes in cheerful colours and patterns
  • Lots of bobbins and hairpins, hair has to be up on shift
  • A diary or planner for keeping track of everything (personally love The Happy Planner Company student midwife diaries, about £25-30)
  • A notebook specifically for reflecting on your experiences while you study and are on placement (reflective practice is really important)
  • A USB
  • A good backpack (shoulder bags and handbags will wreck your back). I’ve been using a black Jansport backpack since 2007 – it’s been through secondary schools, Scout camps from Punchestown to Sweden, and a million other trips
  • Comfortable black shoes for placement that fully cover your feet and ideally are waterproof
  • A good lunchbox (canteen food can be nice but it gets pricey after a while!)
  • The Roar Behind The Silence by Sheena Byrom and Soo Downes: cheap on and recommended by midwives around the world
  • Flask to keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold: Kleen Kanteen has been recommended
  • Hand cream: washing and sanitising your hands multiple times a day will hurt your skin, a thick hand cream will help save them
  • Colouring pencils or markers for notes, especially if you’re a visual learner like me!
  • Folders for college: I’m using slim plastic folders for each module, although I know Anatomy and Physiology will require a much bigger one!
  • Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. It’s considered a bit woo-y by some but it warms my soul every time I read it and it has such important messages about trusting women


I hope that’s of some help! I wouldn’t go buying a lot of books before you get settled. Books for university can be very expensive (and heavy). Advice I have seen over and over again is to wait until you’ve been in the college library a few times, gotten a feel for some of the books and figured out which ones you’ll need the most. Talk to lecturers.


If there’s anything you think should be added to the list, let me know in the comments here, or on the facebook page.

Day of the Midwife 2017

Screenshot 2017-05-05 at 07.11.10Happy International Day of the Midwife to all of you! Whether you’ve just discovered your passion, you’re applying for a place, you’re a current student, a qualified midwife or a retired one. Today is a day to celebrate the magic we are a part of.

I’ve been thinking about what midwifery means to me. Firstly, it means hard work. Three years of applying, and four years of working my butt off to get the grades, and now to get the money together. It has been a long journey just to get to the starting line, but I am just four months away from my first day as a student midwife!

4415-8_midwifery_serviceMidwifery is a science, requiring a lot of academic commitment and hours spent with your head in a book or a journal. Midwifery is an art, a beautiful privilege for those who practice it. Each family needs to be looked like a separate but equally important piece of art. They require detail, individual attention, and time.


Midwifery is a struggle. It is physically difficult, bent down to observe the person in whatever position contractions have put them in. It is emotionally draining, because everyone has problems and we are there to help.

But most of all, midwifery is a gift. We are a part of people’s proudest and most important moments. We are the person they call when baby does something to worry them. We are the trusted heart and hands.

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I can’t lie, I got very emotional watching Sheena Byrom’s video this morning, which includes messages from midwives all over the world. It really got me thinking: we’re one of the oldest professions in the world. We are a part of every culture across the globe, in one form or another. We’re a strong community of people that are there 24/7 every day of the year. We are so vital.


So here’s to us! The midwives of the world, with woman no matter the outcomes. How are you celebrating today? ❀