My Thoughts of Being a Newly Qualified Midwife

There was a time in my life I never thought I’d be a newly qualified anything, and then when Covid-19 hit and we were pulled from placement, with so many things up in the air, it seemed we were going to be delayed. So, I genuinely can’t believe I’m writing this post.

As I write, I’ve just found out, mere hours ago, my shifts for the rest of January. I’ve actually already started by the time you’re reading, but I wanted to write my through the in advance of starting. Everything was a bit up in the air and I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I finally received all my paperwork the week before I was expected to start. Then, the last weekday before I started, I got links to meetings, phone calls and shifts. 

It was when the shifts came through it all hit home for me. It seemed a little surreal until that moment but having my shifts on paper made it all real. I think I was just waiting and waiting to find out what and when I was working, so even though it’s a little late, I’m very thankful. Under normal circumstances, I would have been trying to make lots of plans with friends and family, but as it’s lockdown, the reality is, I can’t do anything else so I’m just grateful to be getting out of the house and to work. 

As a student midwife, once the course is completed, which for us although was 18th December, technically the university then has a week following to finalise paperwork, so my official last day is 10th January. I was originally supposed to be travelling to Australia and perhaps New Zealand for 4 to 6 weeks, whilst I await my Nursing and Midwifery Council PIN Number to be a registered midiwfe. In the end, I stopped planning once Covid-19 hit last year and of course, ultimately travelling hasn’t been possible. I then had two options, start work as a Band 3 in the interim period or await my PIN number which can take up to 6 weeks, with 2 weeks being the quickest turnaround. I decided to go for the former because it was either earn some money, get out of the house and work or stay at home, waste time and watch television. I think I made the right decision and it will also give me a little bit of time to adjust to post-student life before the pressure of being completely autonomous kick in. It also means I complete my mandatory aspects and get things sorted whilst being on a none contact shift.

So how am I feeling? I’m excited to be able to start doing the job I’ve been trained for, for the past 3 years, but I’m also terrified of the responsibility and I think that’s perfectly normal, to be expected. I’ve spoken to quite a few newly qualified midwives and highly qualified midwives and both have warned me of the big step up from student to staff. I feel like I’m as prepared as I can be, but I’m sure it will be more than my mind can even contemplate. 

I’ve had one lecturer compare it to passing your driving test and surprisingly, that made me a lot more comfortable. I hated driving in lessons  I found myself very nervous, constantly fearing the worst and having to concentrate really hard. After passing, I quickly gained confidence, even driving to London the weekend after passing. I just loved being more independent and now it’s such a natural activity so I’m hoping to hat qualifying forces me into a similar position. Having said that, I do know that I will always have a lovely team around me to lean on and be there for support. 

My biggest and most daunting aspect, is getting it right, especially with paperwork and vaginal examinations. I feel like I’ve relied quite a bit on mentors to concentrate on paperwork, especially in emergencies and therefore I’m not confident I’ll be able to do it all in the timeframe that’s required. Hopefully whilst I’m a Band 3 and none contact, that’s something I’ll be able to concentrate on, to get to grips with it. Vaginal examinations are an area I felt confident with in second year but I ended up becoming less confident after a few cases threw me. I also found it third year, I didn’t focus on them as much when I provide care because I truly recognised that they can only tell so much. Having said that, they are a big part of midwifery care, especially when planning certain aspects so I do feel I need to get more confident with this, as well as artificial ruptures of membranes. 

On the other hand, I’m so excited to be able to support women and their families on a more leadership level. I can use my own clinical judgement to support them directly, rather than having to check with my mentor prior for approval. I’m also excited to learn to do cannulation, my intravenous package and suturing so that I truly can provide a full, well rounded care plan, without relying on others or having to bring new faces into the room, which often can be a shame and ruin the atmosphere. 

Eek...the most I think about it, the more I feel a little bit more sick. It’s nerve wracking but fingers crossed it goes well! My first day in as online induction which should be a nice introduction, before appointments and a late shift on the following day, to get everything situated going forward. I can’t wait to see how it goes and continue to share my midwifery journey.