Incoming Student Midwife FAQ!

I've actually had a few people message me privately and ask very similar questions recently so I thought would do an FAQ post instead to help answer some of my most frequently asked questions, because it sounds like a lot of people have similar questions! Some of these may be applied generally but these are all based on my experience of attending University of Nottingham.
  1. Can I be a mature student? I was 22 and a half when I started and I didn't feel left out at all. I do think the demographics are changing a little since the bursary went, but hopefully with the additional grant we will see the balance between mature and younger students return. In my cohort of 24 students, only 7 were straight from A Levels. Most were above 30, with the oldest being in her early 40s and 3 of us having done 3 years of uni before.
  2. Do the different ages get on? We've all got on well but the groups do split into age groups from my experience.
  3. Do you all socialise together? It depends on your type of socialising I guess. I don't particularly like clubbing as I don't drink so I would rather go on a more relaxed social and I did that more so with the societies, than with my cohort, I was involved with.
  4. Should I live in halls? I would definitely recommend halls, especially if you haven't been to uni before because it will be a new experience and you feel a part of the community more.
  5. Can I select my accommodation?
    It may have changed but from experience we don't get a choice on accommodation. I put Broadgate as first choice and then en-suite and different options. I ended up getting my third and last preference of Raleigh Park, which is where most nursing and midwifery students in first year end up.
  6. Can you select the hospital placement? You can rank the hospitals in order of preference just prior to starting or in the first week, but they also ask questions regarding your non-term time address (likely parents I assume with you?) and whether you drive etc. Those that drive are more likely to get further away as it's difficult for non-drivers to access those sites. Similarly, if you're from e.g. Mansfield, likely to be placed in Mansfield. Although, this seems to benefit students! You end up finding out about a month into the programme and then will get Peer Mentors allocated.
  7. Are travel expenses reimbursed? Mileage is covered and you can claim back travel expenses. Public transport also gets reimbursed but only for to and from placement. Normally you would be able to get a lift with the community midwife once arrived, throughout the day.
  8. How do you afford it? 
    Tuition fees are covered by Student Finance at £9,250 per year and this is repaid when graduated. You can then also get Maintenance Loans and Grants, some of which is a minimum and the rest is based on household income. If you select allow communications when you apply, the university gets this information too and you may qualify for further bursaries through university which you do not have to pay back. All of this is paid termly, roughly every 4 months. The last year is actually slightly longer, by a week in third year, plus you usually get a week less for annual leave. Sadly, you also get less student finance so be careful! Luckily, they're now brought in a Government Grant too. This means on top of this, you can get "free" money. This varies but starts at £5000 and you could get anywhere up to £8,000 a year to help fund studies from September 2020.
  9. How much annual leave do you get? It varies slightly year by year but usually 2 weeks for Christmas, 1 week for Easter (but after actual Easter) and 3 or 4 weeks in Summer.
  10. Do you get breaks during studying? Each theory module has an Independent Study Week which try to have "no lectures" to allow you to write the assessment. Other than that, not really. Most weeks though, there are just 2 to 3 days a week of contact. Wednesday's tend to be all self-directed and the other day varies. You can read more about this topic here and how it changed at the very start of lockdown. 
  11. Do you get any opportunities to go abroad? The short answer is...yes! You have 2 weeks to do electives, anywhere in the world outside our normal trusts and placements. You then have the opportunity to do a 10 week Erasmus placement. At the moment these are linked to Malta, Italy and Ireland, but they are hoping to expand. There are also Midwifery Study Tours. These are selective and very limited, but I had an amazing time in Norway last year. They're hoping to do study trips every other year so the next one will likely be 2022 with Covid-19 cancelling travelling for next year. On top of that, you can apply to do the university wide trips too. I applied to do China last year and was going to do the placement weeks I missed in annual leave instead. I ended up not being successful sadly. The Faculty also runs additional trips. I was meant to be going to Switzerland in April for a humanitarian trip but sadly it was cancelled too. So yes, lots of opportunities to travel!
  12. Is there a chance to be involved in the university as a whole?I like to be busy and keep occupied. I also like to take full advantage of opportunities so I think it's what you make it. I definitely think you can if you prioritise and work efficiently. I technically have 2 part time jobs (although class them more as hobbies) and then I do extracurricular commitments and societies as well. I found that the workload wasn't as much as expected, and especially with self-directed, they don't usually take as long as timetabled for which is nice. Most students have a part-time job alongside, plus many have kids too.
  13. What student groups should I get involved in? The Nursing and Midwifery Association is a student group you are automatically a part of as a student midwife and it is completely free. The Midwifery Society is another great one, but does have a cost, however they organise great study days throughout the year. I would then recommend joining a sporting on, but these can be difficult as you have to attend training to be competitive. I would try to find ones that have multiple training sessions, e.g. archery or climbing which meet most days. 

I don't particularly have any general posts at the moment but have a few planned for January when I graduate so it may be useful to check back then. Then, I will be sharing my third year posts. If you search Midwifery Year One you'll be able to see what to expect in terms of the theory, assessments and placement which may be of interest. Again, the same for Year Two with theory, assessments and both midwifery and non-midwifery placements. You can also see all my midwifery related posts here.

I hope that helps answer some of the questions you may have for those thinking of applying or coming to Nottingham soon. If you have any further questions, let me know!