This is how my day on placement begins…..
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My alarm blares, and I struggle to contain the expletives that threaten to fall out of my mouth (in fairness, it’s pretty early in the morning) 05:25, and I start in the hospital in 2 hours. In that space of time I need to wake up, make myself look professional (doesn’t always happen, my hair has a mind of its own) and get psyched for a day of learning on the wards. Coffee helps.

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Anyway, wake up, get dressed, tie up hair, have breakfast, brush teeth, grab backpack, try remember if ironed uniform last night, grab lunch from fridge, look for keys, find keys in pocket after 10 minutes of searching, out the door.Not bad in just over an hour right? By this stage I have it down to an art. I’m always just in time for the bus. And it’s quite pleasant in the morning when it isn’t raining, if a little eerie to see campus so quiet!!

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Traffic is non-existent so early, so I’m usually deposited near the hospital in great time. By this stage I’m waking up, demonstrated by the upper case letters.

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Coffee is indeed the saviour of all nursing and midwifery students.So, for obvious reasons I can’t take photos, or disclose information about what happens during my day in the hospital, but I can give a general overview.

From 07:30-08:00 is handover from the night staff, where we get an update on each woman/patient, the time varies from ward to ward depending how busy it is, or how complicated the case is. It’s important that the students listen carefully to the handover, it updates us on what’s been, whether there’s any condition we should be aware of, or if there’s been any recent developments or admissions. It’s handy to get back into the terminology of the ward too, especially if we haven’t been on it for a while.
After handover we’re assigned to work with a qualified midwife who acts as our preceptor (Like a teacher) she/he will supervise us as we practice our skills, like abdominal palpitations, or postnatal checks, will give us tips and advice, and teach us how to build on the theory we’ve learned in lectures. This will continue until lunch time, when we get to meet up with the rest of the students and eat the lunch you (hopefully) remembered to pack last night!
Because we’re on placement in loads of different areas and even hospitals, lunch might be the only time you see someone from your class all day! It’s generally at this stage of the day I pull out my little notebook that I’ve been scribbling into all morning. In it I write down everything I don’t know well enough for me to practice comfortably, and boy, does it fill up quickly! I’ve gone through two in the past three weeks!!

Just in case you all think that I don’t know what I’m doing, I was on my Operating theatre and my Neonatal nursing rotations, both brand new areas that I knew NOTHING about… hence the crammed notebooks!

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After lunch it’s back to the wards! Depending on the day, time of year, and the hospital, there may be a lecture, class, tutorial or meeting going on that we can go to. They’re usually attended by the hospital doctors, but we’re always more than welcome to go in and expand our knowledge… there’s sometime free tea too… not that that’s a major factor….

Image 6 If there isn’t a lecture on, we stick with our preceptor, doing whatever needs doing.   It’s quite difficult to describe it, because no two days are alike. One day can be absolutely hectic, the other can be really calm, all you do is paper work, and another can start off really calm and you say to your preceptor, “What a nice day, it’s so peaceful and quiet. Yup, today’s going to be relaxing” and then you can marvel at the look of horror on their face. Thinking that everything’s running smoothly the world of midwifery or nursing is asking for trouble. I guarantee, you say it’s quiet, it’ll get busy. Not just busy, manic. There will be case after case after case, and emergencies will happen, and you’re spending the day running around trying to help the doctors and nurses do what needs to be done as quickly as possible. You learn after the first week not to mention the “Q” word.


Anyway, we keep going until 20:30. Or until the night shift begin to come in… then we hang around our preceptor until they say “You can head on home once handover is finished”

Image 7 May not seem like much, but ten minutes is an awfully long time extra sleep when you get up at 05:30.
By this stage I’m generally exhausted, and I trust my subconscious to get me on the right bus and to get off at the right stop. Then I’m, and before I know it, I’m ready for bed.

Image 8Ready for the next day!
It’s long, and it’s tough, physically and emotionally. But it’s the most amazing experience, and I’ve learned some fantastic life skills. How many people do you know that are able to listen to a fetal heart rate with one of these? Image 9

But just in case….


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find out more about our midwifery degree here.