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nursing or midwifery

(46 Posts)
livvysmum Sat 02-Apr-05 22:53:21

does having been a nurse first make you a better midwife. is going straight into midwifery going to give you enough scope to specialise or expand your career. is it better to study nursing first then go into m/w,
i'm a few years off studying anything yet, but am always pondering...
ponder ponder...

sallystrawberry Sat 02-Apr-05 22:59:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

snafu Sat 02-Apr-05 23:00:43

I don't believe nurse-first midwives are better. In fact there's quite a strong argument against nurse-first in that midwifery is supposed to be about dealing with the 'normal', not the abnormal, pathological, unhealthy etc and being nurse-first it might be hard to 'unlearn' some ways of thinking.

On the other hand, there are some people (usually nurse-first midwives ) who say nursing gives you a better grounding in the basics. I certainly know of direct-entry midwives who have come up against some hassle for not being nurses first.

Direct-entry is becoming more and more the 'norm' however so I don't think this will even be much of an issue in another say, 10 years. If you want to be a midwife, be a midwife, I reckon!

Not sure what you mean by scope to specialise though - in midwifery or nursing?

mears Sat 02-Apr-05 23:04:49

I understand why there was a move to direct entry midwifery - midwives now are trained in normality whereas nurses tended to approach women as if they had an illness instead of a physiological event happening to them. There was a move to get away from the medicalisation of childbirth and direct entry midwifery training helped to differentiate more between the two professions.
I trained as a nurse first because that is what I had to do at the time. I have found it beneficial because I have a depth of understanding women when the are actually ill. I have seen a 2 tier system develop in midwifery where those who are dual trained are able to deal with more complex cases. Where women are looked after with high dependency needs, a midwife who is also a trained nurse had the advantage. However, where midwives are dealing with the normal, there is no need for nursing experience. Where i work, midwives are qualifying and not getting jobs. They have nothing to fall back on and cannot work anywhere else but in midwifery. Thoses who have their nurse training can work in nursing until a midwifery job becomes available. Some areas only offer direct entry midwifery training (no nursing prerequisite)

snafu Sat 02-Apr-05 23:13:05

Very good point about lack of jobs, mears

mummytosteven Sat 02-Apr-05 23:15:17

/hijacking thread to ask a daft question

i always understood there was a chronic shortage of midwives - so why is it hard for newly trained mws to get a job? is it due to local factors - i.e. that where mws are trained isn't nec where mws are needed, and that due to family and other commitments it is hard for newly qualifed mws to relocate?

mears Sat 02-Apr-05 23:22:31

Scotland does not have the midwife shortage that England has but it will eventually come. In my area, midwives who are training tend to not want to relocate so they hope that they will get a job on completion of their training. A lot of student midwives are women with families who cannot move although it is highlighted at the beginning of their training that they may need to move. There are other areas in Scotland that do have a shortage so the training centes train for the whole country. My own area does not actually need midwives at the moment so there will be very few midwives employed on completion of training.

mummytosteven Sat 02-Apr-05 23:23:40

thanks mears. always interesting to see the real life circumstances behind the news headlines iyswim.

ljcooper3 Mon 04-Apr-05 12:07:35

Im going to study paediatric nursing (again) in septmeber. I was doing paed nursing but had to leave for my own reasons. Anyway, Im in London and there are also not very many places at my univeristy. I think if midwifery is what you want to do then you should do it straight off rather than training to be a nurse for 3 years, working as a nurse for a few years and then go onto midwifery and have to start all over again. I think nursing gives you experience with people as does midwifery and its better that you do something you want to do first off. It also gives you opportunities to be promoted up to higher grades or bands as they soon will be and doing two trainings for two different professions in lets say 10 years is going to be one hell of a commitment and extremly tough.

What ever you decide to do, good luck!

Toothache Mon 04-Apr-05 12:29:10

I want to apply to study midwifery for entry in 2006. As others have mentioned the spaces are very limited. Only 20 applicants per year are taken on at Stirling Uni.
I have no interest in studying Nursing so will not be applying for that instead.

Mears - I assume the shortage is in NHS jobs? Out of curiousity..... can a newly qualified MW get a job in the Private Sector?

ljcooper3 Mon 04-Apr-05 13:57:13

When I was applying to univeristies my student guidence teacher said that its best to only apply for one course, as the universities are able to see what other universities you have applied to and what courses you have applied to as well.

She said if you apply for more one than course, then some unis will think twice about offering you a place because how can they be sure it is what you want to do. They get money for each student on their courses and they cant afford to have people dropping out.

Toothache - Icant see why you couldnt apply to a job in the private sector when you are straight out of uni, but I am assuming most will want experienced midwifes, but I dont know!! Good Luck

mears Tue 05-Apr-05 16:10:50

Toothache - newly qualified midwives can work in the private sector or set themselves up as Indepenent Midwives as soon as they qualify.

chloeb2002 Tue 05-Apr-05 18:42:36

hello. I applied for both nursing and midwifery and recieved offers for both. Ive opted for nursing first because i have seen that in my area with a serious shortage of midwives the same problems as mears suggested. Midwives with a nursing background get the jobs. and to boot miwives from the direct entry route at my local trust are now only recuited if they agree to do a 12 month nursing rotation. so for the same stress id rather be dual registered and be able to feel confident inmy choices. I would question why anyone would be unwilling to do nursing and yet do midwifery. ive just done a 4 week placemnt in maternity as part of my nursing course and will argue hard that tehre is alot of regular nursing aspects. ok so the woman has a baby, but for 40 weesk they are a pregnant woman and many pregnant women are not bustling examples of health before, during and after pregancy. As a nusre in my foundation year i am learning about mental health, learning disablilities and paeds all of which will help me become a fab midwife when i decide to become dual registered.

snafu Tue 05-Apr-05 19:17:17

Well, I guess I would question why anyone who really wants to be a midwife would spend three years training to be something else

I do take your point about there being regular nursing aspects - of course there are. But there are also many, many things involved in nurse training that won't be relevant to midwifery. And midwives do get just a wee bit of training in mental health, public health, etc too! I guess it partly depends on whether you look at pregnancy and birth as a (mostly) natural physiological and social event, or as potential illness which needs 'treating' or indeed, 'nursing'.

Anyway, aside from that, there are completely practical reasons as to why I'm going direct-entry (just as there are practical reasons for you choosing nurse-first). This course is going to be tough enough - financially, emotionally, physically, etc etc. There is no way I could justify the 3+ years of upheaval that is going to occur in all parts of my life, my son's life, my family's life if it wasn't something that I was absolutely dedicated to in every way. I don't want to be a nurse, I want to be a midwife, so I'll devote my time and energies to training to be a midwife and not training to be a nurse in the hope that I might be a midwife later.

tiredemma Tue 05-Apr-05 19:46:22

snafu, did you decide on kings or kingston in the end? ...

i totally understand your point about DE midwifery, when i started my college course, it was with the sole intention of doing midwifery.
however, over the past few months i have changed mind completly and have decided to apply for adult nursing, cant put my finger on what changed my mind but i cant wait to start applying.

it doesnt matter what way you do it, everybody will have different qualities to bring to whatever branch/path they choose.

vickiyumyum Tue 05-Apr-05 19:49:07

i wholeheartedley (?spelling) with snafu, i am in my 2nd yr of direst entry midwifery training and the only objection to direct entry midwives that i have come across is those that qualified before direct entry or older midwives who already had a nursing background. i know for certain that in the health authority that i work/train for there is no bias toward those with a nursing background.
you will be offered a job on the merits of your training and how well you perform at interview, when speaking to midwives and seeing how they build a relationship with women and their families is a much better way of judging how good a midwife she will bwecome. and whos to say that because you were a nurse before that a) you were a good nurse
b) that you have what it takes to be a midwife
the training is 3 years and many aspects are covered, for example we have spent the 1st yr with the community midwife, priamrily looking at 'normal' birth and labour as well as postnatal care. this included physiology, ethics, pharmacology, psychology amongst many other things. then in the 2nd yr have progressed to looking at other things, such as pre-existing conditions, problems in pregnancy etc.
during your training you spend time on general nursing wards to gain your skills in looking after sick people.
i certainly beleive that midwves are trained to a high standard and that whilst our course is three yrs long it is a specialised course and practically every aspect of care we cover is to do with pregnancy, birth, care of the mother and baby. wheras nursing training is the same amount of time but covers a much broader area, then going on to specialise in certain areas. you then receive 18months of midwifery training. although if your speciality is childrens nursing then the midwifery training is still 3 yrs!
i personally do not see the point in wasting three years of your life doing a course to gain a qualification that you do not want, if you know for certain that midwifery is what you want to do then stay true to your goals and apply for midwifery.
midwifery is a fulfilling career, the same as nursing, but surely if you want to be a midwife become one, don't waste taxpayers money training to become a nurse when as soon as you become one you are going to apply for midwifery.

vickiyumyum Tue 05-Apr-05 19:52:29

after that rant (sorry) what i basically mean is that if you truly want to become a midwife then do it!
i know of several direct entry midwives within our trust that have progressed in their career, because they are good midwives!
p.s if you really want to get started on who makes a better midwife then surely some will argue that a degree qualified midwife is better than a diploma midwife and i'm sure that applies to nursing as well!

snafu Tue 05-Apr-05 20:04:42

I went for King's in the end, emma - just loved it, felt so at home there and can't wait to start! Very interesting about your change of heart, though. I guess that's the thing in the end isn't it - your motivation is very often not something you can list a, b, c in writing - it's just a 'feeling'. My 'feeling' is that I'm going to make a damn good midwife, but would probably be a rotten nurse. Don't ask me to explain it though

vickiyumyum Tue 05-Apr-05 20:13:53

i know exactly what you mean snafu, when i heard how hard midwifery courses were to get onto, i contemplated nursing, but knew deep down that my heart wasn't in it and am really pleased that i applied for midwifery.

tiredemma Wed 06-Apr-05 08:19:45

i think another reason why i had decided to do nursing was the role of health visitor really interests me, a few years down the line though, and you obviously have to be registered nurse to do that.

also on my course at college are other women who passionatlty want to be midwives, i saw this and realised that i didnt feel 100% the same way.
everyone who i have met who wants to be a midwife has a an incredible passion for the role.

i'd congratulate anybody who can get into uni to study midwifery, i know how difficult it is to get a place, Univ Central England has 600 applicants for 50 places!

ljcooper3 Wed 06-Apr-05 15:36:16

Does anyone go to Kingston University?

Also does anyone go to City, just wondering what the course layout is like.

mears Wed 06-Apr-05 19:10:06

I personally believe that the direct entry course needs to be extended for another year to be honest. Yes birth is a physiological event but I do think that there needs to be more exprience for midwives in looking after critically ill women. I always wanted to be a midwife but there were no direct entry programmes in Scotland when I was starting out. I felt I had developed good communication skills in nursing and dealt with very difficult situations such as critical illness, theatre skills and death. I think 17 years old is a very young age to start midwifery and for a number of our student midwives, the maturity isn't there. Women do not trust 'young girls' which wasn't so much a problem when trained nurses then undertook midwifery training. Unfortunately the attrition rate has not improved with the move to direct entry training - if anything students can't handle the stress of midwifery. Thes are just my own thoughts though.

snafu Wed 06-Apr-05 19:23:34

I totally agree, actually, mears. I would have no problem at all with more critical-illness/high-dependency training, etc. I'm not trying to imply that I think midwives are somehow a total breed apart and don't need to know anything nursing-related - I don't think that at all. I just get a bit hacked off with the implied criticism (not by you, I hasten to add!) of DE midwives, that they know nothing and their training is next to useless.

And I also agree about the age thing. Throughout the application process I met some 17/18 year olds who were applying for DE, and I know that there's no way I would have had the maturity/commitment to cope with this training at that age - not to mention what a woman about to birth her, say, fourth baby would think of it But I guess I'm being ageist...

vickiyumyum Wed 06-Apr-05 19:40:52

i alwasy beleived the same as mears, that young girls staright out of school aithout having a child of their own, could not make good midwives. however, the course that i am on ias approximatley 50/50 between those who have children and those who don't and of those that don't have children, most of them are around the age of 20. now after working with them i would say that it doesn't matter if you have children, how old you are, some people ar obviously just born to be a midwife (although i do still feel that when you don't have children a degree in the lack of understanding, of what it is to be a parent is apparent) and sometimes those that are older and have children are people that i hope should i ever have another child i will never come under their care!

vickiyumyum Wed 06-Apr-05 19:41:14

oops spelling again!

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