1 Year Post Qualifying: My Truth and Tips

I can't believe it's been a year since qualifying, and in actual fact, this is a well overdue post. I qualified at the start of January and so it's about 2 months late, but I feel like I have been keeping my experience updated with posts throughout my rotation. I still wanted to recognise the one year mark though and so I thought I would write something that isn't often seen in the current environment of maternity settings and NHS.

The last year has absolutely flown by and I whilst I can't say I have loved every single second, I have enjoyed it...it gets better, it gets easier, it gets fun! I have absolutely loved the last few months of working. I don't dread heading in to work. I feel comfortable with policies, guidelines and I am not afraid to escalate above people. I don't feel as though as I am just surviving, but honestly thriving. 

Here are my three top tips if you're a newly qualified midwife or about to graduate!

  • Do not be afraid to ask questions or for help. 
I trained at the same hospital I now work at, so I was familiar with staff and policies, however I realised just how much I relied on my mentors. It's a massive step up when your are suddenly left by yourself, but...the truth is, you're not. You have a whole team surrounding you whether they are message or a few steps away. Don't be afraid to ask for support, question decisions and ask for explanations. It is the best way to learn. 

Likewise, some days can be a struggle. If you feel like you're having more bad days than good days, speak to your manager or professional midwifery advocate. They are there to support you and you should utilise them. Let them know your concerns or worries and they should be able to put a plan in place. 

  • Take a breath and reflect. 
For me, when something goes wrong or bad (even in the slightest of ways), I question myself and overthink everything. I constantly wonder if I made the right decision or if I should have done something else. At the start of my career, I would come home and weep. I would cry and cry, and not be able to sleep thinking I'd let everyone down. Although it's easier said than done, look at the evidence and really think about what you would do differently. Most of the time, it's nothing. You can't see the future! 

What I found the most helpful, was talking to other midwives and colleagues. Even some of the consultants would applause me and say how well I handled a situation. They always made me feel so much better and they were shocked to hear I felt I could have done anything different. 

  • Remember why you wanted to be a midwife. 
Above all, on the worst days (after the third emergency buzzer, or the 2 hour late finish) remember why you became a midwife. Think back to one of your highlights and that warm feeling it gave you inside. For me, it's always that moment as I lay the newborn baby on the mum's chest, start to rub baby a little and then hear that first cry. The women make eye contact with me and it's the tears and the smiles that make my shift. The truth is, you can't always prepare for a shift as a midwife; every day is a new adventure and you never know what is in store!