My (Student) Midwife Placement Bag!

I've been wanting to do this post for a long time but I haven't got around to it. I think it's safe to say after 3 years of being a student midwife, I can comment on the topic and give some tips on what to pack in your placement bag. I really wish I'd done this post before Christmas because of two reasons. The first being I'm no longer a student so it seems a bit silly, but in the grand scheme of things, I still take similar items as a qualified midwife so at least I can give a small insight from that perspective. The other is because I actually have already taken a lot of my items home to my mother's house, so I can't take pictures of the items themselves! 

First and most important "BIBLE" is what I'm going to call my "Student Must Have Paperwork Bundle". This included my red book of European Union and Midwifery Requirements to get signed off, timesheet and little pocket sized memory book, which all lived in a small A6 folder to keep safe, waterproof and remain high quality. I know so many people who's red books ended up getting lost or ruined, so make sure you keep it safe! Also included in this little bundle was all the paperwork required for placement. For university, we had to fill in a number of items for our online portfolio, so I always made sure to have at least one copy of each readily printed in my back, kept in a plastic wallet folder. 

I loved having the pocket sized memory book and I wrote lessons and highlights from each shift so that I can always look back on them. I had one from each year as a student midwife and these are now in my memory boxes, as lovely keepsakes. As a newly qualified midwife, I've bought a higher quality covered notebook to record important notes, such as emergency protocols, phone numbers and guidelines. 

After that, nutrition is the next thing on the list, starting with a large reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout work. For a night shift, I would sometimes take a Diet Coke can for an added treat and to stay awake. For food, I wasn't the best but I'm trying to make small changes to be healthier. I used to have a smoothie or banana for breakfast, then take picnic good style snacks/sandwiches for my meal breaks on a day shift. For a night shift, I would take my main meal and a banana or apple for my second break. Of course, chocolate was also important and helped me get through the night! I found that this lunchbox was the best because I loved all the different compartments. 

Other bits in my bag were practical aspects to help on the clinical shifts. I had my Littman stethoscope which I got for my 18th birthday, alongside my ophthalmoscope. Neither are compulsory, but I found both of them came in very useful whilst doing NIPE's especially, and helped reduce the frustration of looking for equipment and reduce ear infection risk too. I also had a knitted boob to help with breast feeding support. I didn't find I used this much in the hospital but in the community, especially on home visits, it was vital. Plus, a pinnard that I bought in first year. I haven't used it much since then, but it's defintely an important skill to have and for antenatal home visits, it's a great time to practice. 

The final couple of items are just spare clothes! This may sound odd but a spare pair of pants and socks can come in really useful. I've kept this in my bag since someone's waters broke on my foot once. Thankfully, I haven't needed them since but I'm being safe! I know someone who had to lean into the pool during a waterbirth so some also keep a bra in. After having blood splashed on me, although not necessarily needed during the current times, due to walking to and from work in normal clothes, a spare change in full may also be useful. I also keep a portable charger in my bag to use on breaks. 

I also thought I'd share what I kept in my pockets on my uniform. In the top two breast pockets, I had a small pen torch, two pens (not common ones otherwise they will get stolen!) and my name badge. I then kept my student and trust ID on a lanyard in my pocket due to infection risk. This pocket also had my phone, student midwife pocket reference cards and my handover sheet from the day. In the other side, I kept my Beyond Bea scissors, tape and my Beyond Bea ampule opener. I got the Beyond Bea items as a prize for International Day of the Midwife but they've come in so handy. 

You'll be pleased to know, once qualified, you don't need quite as much stuff and I've defintely reduced my list over the years, which makes it much more manageable now. I would say that the main difference between this list and my qualified midwife is that my "Student Must Have Paperwork Bundle". This is being swapped for my Preceptorship booklet, which is a much easier A4 booklet.