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To aspire to be a midwife?

43 replies

OiledBegg · 01/09/2015 09:33

Am I totally mad?

I'm 29, I have a DS who is nearly 11. I'm working full-time in a low paid office job. I know mdiwifery doesn't pay mega money and that's not why I want to do it. I have wanted to be a midwife for as long as I can remember, my Mum was one so it's always been around me. I have some barriers in the way though:

  • I would need to do an access course at my local college to even have a chance of getting onto the degree, so I wouldn't be able to work as well. I am single so I have no idea how I would support myself financially. Confused I am not eligible for any student loan, as I already have a degree (a poor choice made when I was young, in something that really isn't for me).
  • My local uni is highly highly competitive for midwifery, for A-level students they ask for 3 B grades, there are only a few places and over a thousand applicants.

    I am trying think of ways around everything so I could possibly work towards achieving my dream. I know I am 29 and time doesn't feel on my side.
    Am I nuts to even consider it, should I just stay in my stable (but unfulfilling) job or think about something else entirely?
OP posts:
OiledBegg · 01/09/2015 11:13

it'llbefine I have a certificate saying I have a BA degree, it's just not a BA(Hons).

I think a call to the college is in order to find out if my degree is or isn't recognised, and either way whether the access course would be my best course of action for my proof of study within last 2 years.

I've heard lots about doing work experience to help with mdiwifery application, someone I know is due to start their midwifery soon and volunteered at an NCT group and also did some shadowing in the hospital.

OP posts:
OiledBegg · 01/09/2015 11:15

Lj8893 Judging by my college's website, they only offer the access course full-time, daytime for one year. I will find out more when I call though.

OP posts:
hellsbellsmelons · 01/09/2015 11:18

My friend did this.
Qualified at 38. She loves it.
Get on it and go for it.

Lj8893 · 01/09/2015 11:29

My access was classes as full time and was only 2 full days a week. I worked 4 eves on top of that which was extremely managable. Many of my peers worked 30 hours and still gained good grades.

Itllbefiiiiiiiiine · 01/09/2015 11:53

Yes my 'full time' access course was only 2 days.

Interestingly though, my local college now has an access course into MW and nursing and its 4 full 9-5 days. Shock I find that quite unnecessary!

Lj8893 · 01/09/2015 11:56

I did have to go to a college slightly further away as my local one was 4 9-5 days. The one I went to, 30 mins away, was 2 9-5 days (and has a much better success rate for uni offers!)

Capucine00 · 01/09/2015 12:06

It's going to be hard and it should be. MW is a tough, arduous career and you need stamina. I accept that there should be better financial support for mature students wanting to retrain but the time factor- that is a realistic representation of a career where your qualification is the START of your real learning and the CPD (as the name says) never stops.

SacredHeart · 01/09/2015 12:06

My course access to social science (which is an in road to nursing, midwifery and social work as well as English, history, psychology etc) was "FT" 3 days a week and 10 hours per subject self study.

Those who didn't do the 30 extra hours ended up with passes (classed as A level equiv C/D) those who did got merits (C/B) and distinctions (A/A*) as the research and independent learning is the key.

Depending where you go and your experience passes can be enough to get onto the course but, for example, social work has 800 applicants for 25 spaces so they want distinctions in all my local unis.

Not sure about midwifery, we had none in our class.

Lj8893 · 01/09/2015 12:27

The uni I am going to had over 1000 applicants for midwifery, and 50 places!!

IamtheDevilsAvocado · 01/09/2015 12:31

Your degree should trump access/ a levels.
As you'll know so much at degree level is about being able to think, reflect, and research effectively... Things you presumably will already have gained in your degree...!

I would ring and ask to speak to admission tutors at various universities.

QforCucumber · 01/09/2015 12:41

iam the issue is even with a degree the uni's want to see proof of recent study in the last 2 years, hence the introduction of access courses. If your degree was a long time ago, like mine and the OP's then you have to do a short course like these to show commitment to learning.

Lj8893 · 01/09/2015 12:55

They will want to see proof of recent study, usually within 3 years. And they are likely to want a biology related subject, so if your degree isn't, then it's pretty worthless for entry requirements for midwifery.

There is an open uni human biology qualification which is accepted, which of course you can do at home in your own time but there is a cost.

Lj8893 · 01/09/2015 12:57

Iam, on my access course at least half of us had done degrees already. But still needed to do the access for the reasons I stated in my last post!

Sallystyle · 01/09/2015 12:58

I completed an access course online with the distance learning centre. It was tough but I passed with mostly D's.

I was going to go to uni but working as an HCA and reading some threads here I don't think I want to any more. Tons of nurses want to leave, they are not happy and there was a thread here the other day where people were agreeing and saying they got out or would like to get out.

My plan now is to do a foundation degree and become an AP. You do the course as you work and you are one band below a nurse but can do pretty much everything except for medication.

I would definitely work as an HCA first if you can. In my trust it is quite tough to get into but I got there in the end. We had two weeks of intense training both in classroom and on the ward. Maternity wards rarely come up on bank because contracts are snapped up super quick but working in other wards would give you a good understanding of what it is like to work in a busy hospital setting.

The nurses I work with put me off going to uni because they didn't think the stress of the job was worth it and some even said they wish they stayed as HCA's. It might be very different working as a midwife where you get more patient contact. The nurses on my ward do medication and paperwork (and much much more of course) but rarely get to spend any time doing any hands on caring, so that may make a difference with their job satisfaction.

Im not saying that to put you off, but I do think working as an HCA is a very wise thing to do first. Most uni's want to see that you have some work experience in the field and midwifery have few places but thousands of applications.

You are definitely not too old. I am 34 and only thinking of starting a career and if you really want to do it then you most certainly can.

Pandora97 · 01/09/2015 13:40

You're not mad and you're certainly not too old! Nowhere near. I know women in their mid 40s who have just qualified. In my cohort the age range was between 18-45, with most being in their late 20s/30s.

You can get a student loan but it will be at a reduced rate. I also recommend joining - they've got lots of information on there about finances, access courses, how to write a personal statement and what being a student midwife is really like.

The drop-out rate is very high so unis like to see that you're committed. You don't necessarily have to get maternity related work experience as it's not easy to come by, but anything where you've worked with people or women/health related helps. Eg. women's aid, the samaritans, anything along those lines. You can even big up your office job - they like to hear about transferable skills and how what you've done can help in a career as a midwife. This shows that you actually understand what midwives really do and the reality of being one in the NHS today, as a surprising number don't. Read midwifery journals. Read as much as you can about being a midwife. One book a lot of prospective students read is Becoming a Midwife in the 21st Century - lots in there about the role of a midwife. (I can't stress this enough - admissions teams like to know that you understand the role of a midwife. And when you start your essays in 1st year they'll mostly be about - guess what - the role of a midwife!) There's also workshops dotted around the country run by independent midwives and others for prospective students. Would be worth going along to one of them.

As others have said, it's competitive all over the country for midwifery so don't let that put you off. Most unis have reserve lists and some people do drop out before the course starts for various reasons so even if you don't get an offer straight away but end up on the reserve list, you still have a chance! About half of my cohort came from the reserve list but be prepared that you might be called up to start at very short notice. I was very lucky and got an offer a couple of weeks after my interview, and I was surprised that a couple of people in my cohort came from the reserve list when one had been an MCA for years and the other was an HCA. I had no health care experience like that. Just goes to show that it's passion that is the key (the interviewer mentioned that I sounded very passionate at the time).

I really would recommend joining up to You can chat to lots of others who are in the same boat. That forum was a lifeline for me when I was applying. Good luck!

Pandora97 · 01/09/2015 13:54

That's funny U2 as on my very first day in the hospital as a student midwife, one of the midwives (who was also nurse trained) said to me "what do you want to do this for? Get out whilst you can. Go and be a nurse instead, SO much more variety and scope for progression."

There is TONS of paperwork in midwifery. Tooooooooooooons. Especially within labour care. I'm just coming up to qualifying and I still find juggling looking after the woman and writing in the notes at the same time, especially in high risk cases, very difficult sometimes. I know loads of midwives who stay behind after their shift has finished so they can finish writing the notes. Postnatal ward is particularly stretched and understaffed and there are some days where some of the more complex women take up so much of my time that I barely see the others I'm supposed to be looking after which makes me feel guilty. I think the issues that are making nurses want to leave (paperwork, crap management etc.) are unfortunately not much different in midwifery. The litigation culture is so huge and feared in midwifery that we're always being told to make sure we cover our arses all the time.

Not that I'm trying to put you off OP. But I think it's better to go into this job with your eyes wide open about the negatives.

Pandora97 · 01/09/2015 13:57

Oh and I do agree to get HCA work if you can. I'd never worked in a hospital before I started and I did find it very overwhelming getting used to the business and the culture. But don't beat yourself up if you can't get any HCA work, as like I said, you don't need to have it to get on the course. It's just a good thing to have had experience of for when you first start placement.

Lj8893 · 01/09/2015 15:20

5 of the wannabe midwifes from my access course got a place this year, only 1 of which is a HCA, and I am a domicillary care assistant (which although not clinical and mainly my clients are elderly, has still given me amazing and experience). The other 3 had no "relevant" experience but managed To demonstrate their transferable skills in interview/personal statement.

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