Retraining to become a midwife

(11 Posts)
coolpink101 Fri 19-Jul-13 14:51:21

I have recently decided that I want to retrain to become a midwife - this is something which I can't do straight away due to financial restraints and parental responsibilities, but I want to plan ahead with the hope of going back to uni in about 3 years time. In order to plan ahead though, I was wondering if anyone could help answer the following questions:

- Funding: I know I can get my tuition fees paid for midwifery, and am most likely eligible for a full nhs bursary (about £5k?). Is there also extra money available for those doing the course who have children (a kind of parental allowance)?

- Work experience: I know that midwifery is a very competitive course to get onto, so the more experience I can get, the better. Having already had DC1 I have experience from the patient's side - but how can I get experience on the actual midwife side of things? From what I've read, it's pretty difficult to get experience, so what sort of things do you think would be good? Talking to a midwife? Helping out at breastfeeding support groups? Getting involved with NCT stuff? Is there anything else?

- The course itself: I'm guessing that the course is going to be pretty tough, as its 50% theory and 50% practice - but has anyone else on here done it when they've had kids too? Is it a tough course to do when trying to balance family life as well?

- Placements: Does a typical midwifery degree entail doing placements during holidays (like nursing) - so when all the other students are off enjoying a 4 month summer break, student midwifes are on placement? I just need to know this so I can think of suitable childcare options.

If there's anything else mumsnetters can tell me, please do - the more I know the better I'll be able to plan for 3 years time smile

Mamafratelli Fri 19-Jul-13 20:06:47

You will probably need to do an access course first and try to get experience with pregnant ladies not babies as that will be 90% of your work.

treedelivery Fri 19-Jul-13 20:13:34

At our nearest universities, peer support training and experience plus maternity unit work experience and a UCAS personal statement from heaven are pretty standard. It needs to contain evidence of the politics of women in society, midwifery and health etc etc. Access course or A levels or both for those who left school a while ago, say over 3 years.

Do lots of research!!

Course usually run over about 45 week, not the usual university year, and you will have to work shifts etc, for which you will need to have some sort of flexible childcare to cover nights etc.

MissDuke Fri 19-Jul-13 21:09:21

I am starting the course in September and am totally bricking it! The bursary very much depends on what part of the UK you are in. In England, it is means tested, if you google you should find a calculator to help. You may get some help towards childcare also.

I couldn't get maternity experience, so instead volunteered elsewhere in the hospital, and did a few other things involving working with families. It is hard to get into midwifery, but with the right qualifications, experience and knowledge - you are in with a great chance :-)

rightsaidfrederick Sat 20-Jul-13 09:04:46

With regards to finance, yes you can get extra money for being a parent / childcare costs. This is quite a good bit of info, and whilst it was written by a specific uni it's fundamentally the same across England www.ljmu.ac.uk/feesandfunding/125736.htm

Everything that has been said above, and I would also suggest visiting nearby universities on an open day in the autumn so you can speak to course leaders etc and find out more. Our local one has specific healthcare open days.
Also bear in mind that entry requirements might change before you start, I know at our local uni the midwifery entry requirements went up this year - it is a very competitive course. However if you use your time to prepare you will have as good a chance as any of the other candidates!

FatalFlowerGarden Sat 20-Jul-13 10:18:09

treedelivery is right. It is an incredibly difficult course to get onto. The university I trained at took just 8% of applicants onto the course. However, people do get places so don't let that it you off too much - just do your research. Peer support experience would be fantastic; universities do know how difficult it is to get hospital experience but anything relevant will stand you in good stead.

It's correct that you may also need to do an access course before you start - most universities worthy their salt will want evidence of recent higher-level study. The course is more academic than you might think - I already had a degree but found the midwifery training far more academically challenging.

The hardest thing is balancing it all. I started training when ds was 2 years old. I was a single parent and relied heavily on my own parents to provide childcare. It wasn't easy. Nightshifts, 12-hour days, staying over your shift to catch a baby! And yes, you work all summer when all the other students are relaxing... no long summer break for us midwives.

And, I'm sure you know this already so please don't think I'm being patronising but...at my university (I now teach) we have seen a massive rise in applications since OBEM and Call The Midwife. It's great that midwifery is now more in the public consciousness but the actual job is nothing like either of these programmes grin. It's tough, it's draining, it's disruptive to your home life. Yes, it's also fabulous, fulfilling and rewarding, but please go into it with your eyes wide open - there ain't no tea and cake breaks where I work!

Good luck.

havingamadmoment Mon 22-Jul-13 11:36:40

I am going to be applying for the first time this year smile
I am doing an OU biology course which I was told would be good evidence of study plus would count instead of the biology A level which some universities ask for.

I started and run my own business with DH so I am going to try and use that as evidence of ....something....on my personal statement - not sure what yet!

I am also volunteering as a breastfeeding peer supporter with surestart.

I am really trying hard to get my application as good as I can but if I dont get on next year I will do more and try again next!

havingamadmoment Mon 22-Jul-13 11:37:20

Oh alsi I already have a degree so was told after panicking about it that I have the required UCAS points (I was SO confused before that!)

coolpink101 Tue 23-Jul-13 17:07:40

That's fab - many thanks for all the helpful replies. I will be applying to universities in South Wales, but I think the funding is the same, if not very similar, to English universities. I'm glad that I may be able to get some sort of childcare assistance money.

Will I still need to do an access course, despite having the required A-level grades, a first class hons degree, a Masters degree, and a recent Level 3 teaching qualification (which was needed for my current job)? I am confident in my academic ability to do the course, but realise that despite my good background, I may still need to convince them in 3 years time that I can still do it. I will need to schedule in time (and find money) to do this course otherwise.

Don't worry FatalFlowerGarden - I have never seen OBEM (refused to watch it before the birth of DC) or Call the Midwife - so they're not my reason for wanting to apply. Just seeing my midwife doing her job, and then going through the whole experience myself has changed my life so much that I want to help other women going through that (wonderful) experience too! I don't think I've ever been this enthusiastic about a potential career role as this smile

Leeds2 Tue 23-Jul-13 17:47:55

My friend's DD is doing a midwifery degree at the moment.

She had a gap year after A Levels, and worked as an assistant (paid job, but no medical qualification) in our local A&E. I don't think she had any other practical experience.

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