Preceptorship Rotation Thoughts: Community

I actually can’t believe that my 7 months in the community is over. In fact it finished at the start of December but I’m only just getting round to sharing this post! 

Back when I started, I shared my thoughts prior to beginning and I’ll admit, I wasn’t overly excited. I’m fact, after my second and third month I requested to be placed back into the hospital because I hated it that much. Well a further four months later, I can’t deny I’m excited to go back to the hospital but I’m also sad to leave my women, my team and the job I’ve learnt to love. 

I really struggled at the start of the rotation and I think I was just thrown into the deep end, the deep deep deep end. I had a lovely supernumerary month and then I was new to the community in July and August, at the peak of the summer where not only we were short staffed, but we were also in the peak of summer annual leave with a minimum of one staff member per team off at a time. I would always be on visits alone, having to juggle phone calls, visits and admin all at once. 

To top it off, my team also didn’t have any midwifery support staff, with both of ours going off sick less than a week into my rotation. We ended up getting an admin staff member and an additional new midwifery support staff member on my fourth month and I can’t even begin to explain what a difference it made to the workload. We no longer had to go through up to 30 voicemails at the end of a long day, prep newborn blood spot packs, do breastfeeding support follow ups and routine reweighs. Of course, we still did but it was nice to share that workload. They were both so lovely, accommodating and I will forever be thankful for their support.

After that, it got so much easier. I was able to enjoy my Tuesday and Wednesday clinic days, and have time to do my visits on visit days. I got used to the processes and familiar with common guideline. I also got to know my women and my caseload. I developed a real relationship with them all and that is well and truly the part I will miss the most. I was so sad to say goodbye to some of the women that I’d looked after for their entire pregnancy. Some of them have just a month left and I wish I could have stayed to keep them for the rest of the journey. My favourite part was the continuity; seeing them for every appointment, looking up their birth and then visiting them at home one or even more times! It was such a beautiful model and I can see how a continuity of care would be so rewarding, I just think I would struggle with the on call days. 

Of course, I couldn’t have got through it without the team. There are a few I found a little lazy, not team players, rude and also quite stressful but a couple of the midwives were my rock. They taught me everything from my very first placement as a student midwife, to guiding me as a qualified. They gave me so much confident and respect, their compliments made my day and asking me to stay on, filled me with joy. I really am going to miss them. 

The last two weeks were probably the best throughout the rotation. Not only did I not have to do any overtime unless I’d chosen to, but I had time to get up to date with all my admin and even get to have lunch breaks, which I would normally work through. To top it off, for every day, I wasn’t on visits alone. It was a wonderful surprise to have another colleague or too to join. 

Of course, the ending wasn’t quite the most ideal aspect. I had two visit days, after having to hand over my caseload two weeks early. Then a study day online and finished with a night shift from hell. I was pulled from the phones within the first few seconds, put on triage and then switched to HDU, before being asked to go help on the wards. I'd just settled down doing the jobs I needed to do, when I was called back to labour suite for a pathological CTG which resulted in an emergency section. It didn't help that all the paperwork has changed and so it took me 2 hours to catch up with everything. I was utterly drained by the end it. I then had the wake up early to return all my equipment back to the headquarters to just top it off!

Despite the challenging beginning and the chaotic ending, like I said I loved the job…I just hated being pulled and switched multiple times. I really struggled with working 6 days a week and I hated not having days off during the week. I’m not saying no to ever going back but I think it will be a while. Perhaps when I have children and go part time. Until then, goodbye.