How Covid-19 has Affected my Midwifery Course

I think Covid-19 has affected everyone in different ways and whilst some have been affected more than others, that doesn't mean the effects aren't as painful or discouraging to individuals. For me, I moved out of Nottingham practically overnight and then after less than 2 weeks, made the decision to move out of my family home and to my dad's house in Wales. It also meant I didn't see my boyfriend or any friends and family for 4 months which is a long time. Personally though, despite all this, I felt okay and it's only as I look back and everything that I've missed, I become more disheartened, especially when it comes to my midwifery course and the changes this has meant. Today, I wanted to share some of those milestones which have been cut out or lost along the way.
For me, the saddest parts we have missed out on is caseholding and our electives. Caseholding is one of my very favourite experiences on the course and have absolutely loved everything about it. Sadly, with the lack of community placements but also no placements for the first 6 months practically of the year, it hasn't been possible. I also think that the enclosed spaces would be a limitation and therefore not safe in general. On top of that, as third years we do a two week elective where you can go anywhere in the world to see how they do midwifery. It's an incredible opportunity and one everyone gets excited about. For obvious reasons, this year travel experiences have been cancelled.

Of course, all out theory teaching has been completed online. That's 3 modules with no contact and rarely seeing anyone. I shared right at the start of lockdown for some of the changes, but since then it's somewhat gone downhill. I've felt like the content hasn't been adapted to the changing circumstances and often forgotten and left to learn content ourselves without much teaching. On that note, I think the organisation of the modules has just been quite poor and we've had really busy weeks and then week's of nothing which seem a big of a waste annoyingly. Nevertheless, all the theory is officially complete and with that, our last sessions as a cohort has been completed online. We didn't get the chance to say goodbye, and I am just really hoping we can have a 20-person celebration at the end of December when we finish for good!

Despite transitioning to online learning, some of the great opportunities we have in our curriculum have been removed and missed and sadly, due to curriculum changes, we didn't get them in our second year either. Things like aromatherapy training day and the normal childbirth experience. Also, the breech workshop got cancelled too. Ah, I wish we had organised them for earlier in the year!

I think one of the saddening aspects has been the possibility of payment. Our cohort is the only cohort in the country to miss out on all the government financial bonus' and whilst I never went into the course expecting them, it is a little disappointing to be one of a handful of students to not have the benefit. All students before us had the free tuition fees saving over £21,500 and all students after us have the free £5,000 to £8,000 additional money. The September cohort then had the benefit of being paid at band 4 and I've recently learnt that despite the government stopping this after July, they are being paid my Trusts for the remainder of their placements until end of September. We on the other hand get absolutely nothing and not even the benefit of death in service. Yey!

That's not to say that everything is bad. Working from home has given me the opportunity to do more independent learning and take advantage of extra-curricular courses, such as Beyond Bea, Mummy's Star, Reflux and Wise Hippo Hypnobirthing. As well as join the incredible online conferences that have taken place, like Midwifery and Maternity Forum Conference. Similarly, with most teaching pre-recorded or self-directed, the timetable has been flexible and enabled me to choose my own hours, which has then given me the change to spend time with my dad and enjoy going on walks and other activities, as well as read more books and watch television. My first couple of lockdown months was spent catching up on all the television I'd missed during being busy January to March! The new online focus also gave me a strange chance to collaborate and interact with more students and bodies in my work as President of the Nursing and Midwifery Association. These were all fantastic experiences and gave me increased confidence which is fantastic.

I think there's so many other aspects but these are some of the stand out moments for me. What's the biggest thing covid-19 has changed for you? Good or bad...let me know!

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