Any Midwives? Advice, Experience

(13 Posts)
buzzsailor Sun 12-Jun-16 17:26:00

I am about to start an access to HE course before completing a degree in midwifery- I was wondering if there are any midwives on here that could give me some advice as to what the profession is like?
As you can't really get work experience being a midwife all I know is basic research and watching One Born Every Minute- which I'm assuming doesn't show all the negatives and the realistic pressures of the job?

Are there different types of midwifes for anything?
What are the hours like being an NHS midwife?
Does the degree include a lot of tricky mathematics?
When does a midwife start the relationship with a family- would it be during pregnancy or just at the delivery?
Does a midwife stay in contact with a mother after a birth for anything?
Do you know if there is a shortage of midwives at the moment as the NHS says so but courses are overloaded with applicants?
And is there anything else you could tell me about the job? Any midwife replying would really help me as I have no related experiences and It would also be helpful to be able to write in my personal statement that I have asked current midwives about the career and I have a little knowledge about the experiences the job includes.

Thank you in advance- I'm really interested to see what it's like and I'm excited to start my course even though it'll be at least 4 years of studying before I get to start! smile

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WhereTheFuckIsMyCunt Sun 12-Jun-16 17:47:22

You generally get community based midwives and hospital based midwives.

The community midwives will see the women throughout Their pregnancy and also for approx ten days after the birth. Hospital midwives may work in clinic, seeing high risk women, on labour ward or on the antenatal/postnatal ward. Some hospitals midwives may stay in one area all the time or they may spend a few months in one area and then rotate to another area.

Shifts tend to be nights, early shift (morning), late shift (afternoon) or a long day. On a long day or night you could be doing a 13 hour shift. Which is tiring.

When I did my degree we had to do a mental maths test, no calculator allowed which involved quite indepth long division. But you know what to expect and practice like mad,,,,you had to get 95% to pass.

I think some areas in the country have a shortage, others don't. If you look on the nhs jobs website and search for midwives you will see where the ads are currently and over time you realise it's often the same areas advertising nearly constantly.

The job is hard, mentally and physically. It can be very stressful but also very rewarding. Just as I think "that's it, I'm quitting" I will have a lovely shift where at the end of it someone tells me what a difference I made to her and how I was the perfect midwife. And then I feel all enthusiastic again!

There's a lot of paperwork. It's short staffed everywhere. You can feel like you're fire fighting most of the time and a lot of shifts you can feel you're doing the bare minimum to be safe rather than giving good care. And that can wear you down. But you just do the best you do and think we'll at least if I do it with a good attitude and go that bit further as much as im able to maybe it will make a difference.

Remember being a midwife is not about the babies, it's about the women. Gushing about babies is a sure fire way to get your application rejected. It's not about having your own ideas about pregnancy or labour, it's about supporting women and providing them with information, then supporting their decisions (even if you disagree with them)!

WhereTheFuckIsMyCunt Sun 12-Jun-16 17:49:09

And yes there's a lot of competition for the training, it's alwas been competitive but more so since OBEM.....which is not realistic by the way. But there's a high drop out rate. Ive known some cohorts lose 50% by the end of the three years.

MrsLouisTomlinson Sun 12-Jun-16 17:55:42

Place marking as I have crap Internet but will come back to this.

What I would say now though is, you don't seem to have a clue about what midwifery is or what it entails so what draws you to it?

hellsbells76 Sun 12-Jun-16 17:56:15

Can I ask what attracts you to midwifery? Based on your questions here you don't seem to know a great deal about it (eg antenatal care is a HUGE part of the role). When you apply to uni you will be competing against a lot of other candidates for precious few places and you'll need to have a really good handle on what the job involves to stand any chance.

hellsbells76 Sun 12-Jun-16 17:57:13


calamityjam Sun 12-Jun-16 18:06:36

I got a very high score on my access to HE diploma, GCSE's in all subjects including maths and English 20 years as a hca plus paid experience as a community midwifery support worker, excellent references both academic and work. I was advised to not bother even applying for a degree in midwifery.


buzzsailor Sun 12-Jun-16 18:11:08

I know the basic role of a midwife and it looks like such a rewarding experience but theres nothing in schools that have anything to do with midwifery, and there's no way to gain work experience- I'm doing a 1 year access course to learn more and make sure it's what I want to do before a degree. There's no way to find out much about midwifery before a degree hence I'm doing the access course, and hence I'm posting on here- I want to find out more so that's what I'm doing now

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WhereTheFuckIsMyCunt Sun 12-Jun-16 18:18:06

You may well struggle without experience, so think what sort of women centered work you can do/volunteer. Sure start centres, women's refuge, hca on the maternity ward, volunteer on the maternity ward.

hellsbells76 Sun 12-Jun-16 18:19:48

It's perfectly possible to get work experience: I've had many work experience students. You might need to be tenacious and creative to get an 'in' but it can be done.

There are also plenty of ways of finding out what a midwife does: it's not MI5! I think we're just curious why you're attracted to a profession you clearly know nothing about.

saffynool Sun 12-Jun-16 18:28:08

I'd suggest stop watching OBEM - I don't know a single mw who can bear to watch that programme!

I was a practising midwife for several years and now train student midwives. The course I teach on has approx 17 applicants for every place and we expect candidates to have a very good understanding of what the job entails as well as excellent academic potential. You are doing the right thing by asking around but you will also need to do some research yourself. I would advise investing in a subscription to a journal such as British Journal of Midwifery, the Practising Midwife or even MIDIRS. Not necessarily cheap but you do need to show that you have read around your subject and these journals will also give you a good idea of current issues in midwifery. You can get student subscriptions at reduced rates or perhaps your FE college will have a subscription.

Midwifery is an incredibly varied job - you can work in hospital or in community, focus on labour care or caseload women from start to finish. You will need to accept night shifts, weekends, long days etc right from the start of your training - some students get a bit of a shock when they realise this! Working in community will also mean on-call responsibilities for home births etc, so potentially 24+ hours working in one go.

As pp have said, being a midwife is about respecting women and the choices they make, giving them the info and support to make the decisions that are right for them, being their advocate.

It's an extremely tough job and it's essential that you go into training with your eyes wide open. NHS maternity services are understaffed, under-resourced and hugely over worked. Women are getting pregnant now with existing co-morbidities and illnesses that 30years ago we just didn't see, so you need a good understanding of high-risk care and physiology etc as well as the ability to support normal birth. It can be incredibly rewarding too, of course!

There is a shortage of midwives, meaning that there is not enough money in the NHS to employ the number of midwives that are needed to provide optimum safe care. Not that there aren't enough students - there are plenty of those!

saffynool Sun 12-Jun-16 18:31:53

buzzsailor Sun 12-Jun-16 18:34:53

Thank you so much for all your advice smile I will be reading books and doing my own research I just wanted some experienced opinions and answers to gain more insight-
Thank you!

OP’s posts: |

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