Right, you’re here because you are considering a career as a midwife, I assume? Maybe you are just pondering the thought, or have actually started a UCAS/college application and you want to be a midwife. I thought that now I am old stock (in the midwifery world) I would debunk some myths and pass on some advice for budding students. Be warned, I have no holds barred and will tell you exactly as it is. This is the start to my “The me behind the midwife” series.
Midwives are the only people other than doctors that are legally allowed to provide care in labour in the UK.
That isn’t to say that if dad or a family member accidentally delivers a baby on the bathroom floor they would be breaking the law, but knowingly not having a midwife (free birthing), is illegal in the United Kingdom.
Midwives are not all nurses and not all nurses are midwives.
You can train to be a midwife at university without being a nurse first, that takes 3 years. Nurses can do a conversion course that is 18 months to become a midwife.
You don’t need A-levels to be a midwife.
But you may need to do something called an access course at college to give you the stepping stone into a degree. If you have A-levels or NVQs (ideally science/health & social care based) and have completed them in the last 5 years, they will count.
You no longer get a free degree and a bursary.
When I trained the NHS funded my degree and gave me a very modest bursary every month. But from 1st August 2017, that is no longer the case. You will get a student loan to help fund your learning but will have to inevitably pay that back when you earn over the threshold. This will be the difference between some people applying and not, the previous method allowed mature students to get into Uni, as the bursary supported their family, but now if you have a family, you will be running on empty or having to dip into the savings pot.
It is the hardest thing you will ever do.
And I am not lying about that. When you train, you work. Whether your course is split between uni blocks and placement blocks or whether your week is split between the two you’ll find yourself working at least 37.5hrs a week. For no pay. It is soul destroying working night shifts and not being able to afford to fill your car up with petrol on the way home. But there is nothing you can do about it.
It is back breaking work.
Whilst you’re a student you will be protected, but once you qualify you will find yourself doing 14 hour days without even having time to go for a wee. You’ll not have a drink until you get home and then won’t sleep because of the stress of the job.
Patients are horrible.
Not all of them, of course, but when the general public is involved, and at such a point of heightened emotions, you will see the worst in people. I have been kicked, threatened and shouted at multiple times, many of which when I was pregnant myself.
Is it worth it?
Well, only you can decide that. I did know what I was getting into and did it anyway. The question is, do I regret it? Some days I wish I’d gone to work in an office, but I tried that and hated it. Midwifery is a job that is different every day and still is one of the most privileged jobs in the world. I don’t regret my decision for a second, but I still had to work damn hard to get to this point.
If you fancy leaving comment, please do, they always make my day!