Reflecting on my First 3 Years as a Qualified Midwife

In my first three years as a qualified midwife, I feel very comfortable in my role and my ability to be a midwife. It's not been the easiest three years, in fact it's been the hardest years of my life. The first year qualified was a struggle at work and then just as I felt comfortable at work, my personal life blew up and hasn't been the same since. Despite it all, it really has flown by and I'm so proud of everything I have been able to achieve before my first revalidation

In my preceptorship programme, I completed 6 months on labour suite, 7 months in community and 3 months on each ward (antenatal and postnatal). I loved my labour suite and postnatal ward rotations, but was not a fan of the antenatal ward. Luckily, the majority of time, I got pulled but when I stayed, it all seemed to go wrong, and I didn't love some of the core staff members there. 

The community was a lovely role and I loved the job, however there was one member of the team I felt was very rude and for that I struggled to work with her. On top of that, the team was very short staffed, as was the whole service, and I felt very used and abused. I was frequently told if I didn't do x, y, z, women would miss care and was constantly told, you'd get paid overtime, but finishing 2 hours late almost every day wasn't fun. I felt like I was working 6 days a week and despite the pro- being not working nights and weekends, I did one or the other every week at a minimum and the pay decrease was noticeable. 

I ended up finishing my preceptorship pack and securing my Band 6 within 13 months. It would have been sooner but unfortunately, I had to wait until I had at least 2 weeks in every area and then the assessor was on annual leave which extended it slightly. Nevertheless, I was pleased it took just over a year, which was my original goal. 

My next goal was to start my Masters and the week before I got my Band 6, I was successful in my application. I'm now three-quarters of the way through my two year course and I have really enjoyed the experiences and the learning opportunities. I'm quite behind in posts for the course, but I will be writing all about my fourth completed module and then the start of my fifth and last next month. 

I feel very honoured to be a regular practice supervisor and practice mentor. I think I have a relatively good reputation amongst students and provide learning and teaching opportunities throughout their placements. I have had to unfortunately fail one student and another had negative feedback given. Both have asked not to work with me again, which is understandable and a benefit from my perspective, but it would have been good for them to provide feedback on my teaching as well, which I never received. I would love to have known if there was something I could have improved on myself. 

In terms of additional activities, I have attended a number of conferences and ticked a lot of goals off on courses. I qualified as a NIPE trained practitioner and have loved having the ability to practice that skill, as an additional midwifery role. Once I got my Band 6, I completed an Early Career Research Fellowship which I really enjoyed and I also started a new role as a Nursing and Midwifery Board Staff Representative. Finally, right at the end of my three years, I managed to squeeze in 2 courses that I was really keen to complete: cannulation and ECG. I can now do both skills independently and I enjoy being able to provide a complete service to clients. 

Overall, I feel very lucky to have been able to achieve a lot of my career goals and whilst, there are of course, still some things I want to achieve, I feel proud that I've been able to do so many in such a short period of time.