Diary of a Newly Qualified Midwife: Day 5

Day 5: “Hello, Labour Ward, Midwife”

Yep. I uttered those words today and I’m damned if I didnt get a lump in my throat just after I did.

That’s the first time I’ve ever said that phrase and I know I’ve banged on about feeling like a fraud, and worrying about having forgotten everything, but that short sentence triggered something in me today.

I’m here. I’ve made it. Now it’s time to realise it.

I’m not going to disclose details about the women I’ve been a part of caring for today, suffice to say that my much commented upon “you talk a lot” way of practicing (aye, there were some mentors who think bedside manner is an optional extra) was very well received by all three.

Smug much? Yeah. I am. 

What I love about working where I’ve started my career is that not only are we seeing a lot of women with complex co-morbidities  (stuff wot is wrong with them), but the staff are outrageously helpful and generous with their time.and manner. Thank goodness! 

I may have passed the toilet 3 times before I realised where the toilet was, but I’m also starting to gather my bearings. Which even just at the start of the week, I never thought I would manage.  Watch this space, and expect a blog post in the not too distant future which may come from a locked stationery cupboard. Probably.

I worked with a midwife today who is soon off to the hospital where I trained so we were swapping knowledge and acclimatising one another. There was lovely staff room conversation about a summer event so that newbies and multi disciplinary teams, and core staff can intermingle – there is talk of bavarian beer venues and much fun. I am so up for that.

But as well as the kindness of people, there was the professionalism – I was spoken to as a professional and given directions and care plans by doctors because I am a midwife and … it still took a while to click.

However that wondrous utterance of the sentence on the phone, was surpassed only by signing my name in notes, printing it…and putting (RM).

I currently love life

H xx


Diary of  a Newly Qualified Midwife: Day 4


Since Tuesday when I got my timetable, I have been dreading today. Yes. Two days. 

PROMPT, for those who don’t know, is PRactical Obstetric Multi Professional Training. Doctors, midwives, and students come together and have a couple of seminars and practical exercises in the morning, and then in the afternoon you are plonked into unfolding scenarios – each being an obstetric emergency, with potential differential diagnoses.

Your mission (and you *have* to accept it, so suck it up, buttercup) is to use the skills base in your TEAM to identify the diagnosis and act and treat the woman, and/or child.

Amma just hiiiiide in this bag. Kthxbai

It’s ok for me to have been crapping myself over it; I havent practised in a while, and other people who *have* were there and I was worried I would finally be outed as the fraud I still feel I am. 

So that didn’t happen, I confidently resolved a shoulder dystocia 

(Image: https://www.babycentre.co.uk/i/article/shoulder_dystocia_colour-2.gif)

I assisted a woman to birth her breech baby…well an interactive model of a pelvis and legs and baby

How breech babies lie (image: https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/blogs-prod-media/us/uploads/2015/07/27102220/breech-baby-position-650×446.jpg)

And resuscitated various size humans – also mannequins.

This was not an emergency, but “baby in a bag” is one I would resolve, because I’m professional like that 

The afternoon went pretty swimmingly, and I assumed my role as junior midwife, taking on tasks I was assigned and feeling comfortable but constatly listening to those more experienced to learn the care planning.

You know what? I knew way more than I thought I did, and never felt stupid asking any questions. That is why days like this work: they’re a practical learning environment where it’s ok to stop and ask questions.

This is a day where we refresh our knowledge on how to take action when a situation deviates from normal. 

Yeah, I said normal. Deal with it.

H xx

Diary of a Newly Qualified Midwife: Day 3

Day 3: Lady bits

Should I have rephrased that? Something more professional? Ok. 

Day 3: Suturing and catheterisation.

Due to my diverse employment history, I have professional sewing experience. While you may laugh at the fact that it was in The Bear Factory, it enabled me to learn how to bring fur-lined edges together.

And yes, I’ve worn the suit.

I enjoyed suturing at Uni and as a student, but it’s been a hell of long time since I was needle in clamp, so my needle point was more geared to this

(A favourite quote of mine, by the way)

Annnnnyway, after having a session using the needle clamps and tongs and feeling like I was in a really specific Japanese gameshow, I felt much better about knots and layers. Yay me.

Catheterisation is something I know and can do, (I’ve done it in theatre with a whole team waiting for me and I didnt die. That’s a big deal) so no great shakes there – and as we don’t have to deal with penises, it’s a lot simpler. I have, however, been on a previous hunt for a woman’s urethra. I know where it *should* be, but goddamn if I could find that little bugger.

More e-learning in the afternoon and then home to find my PrOMPT book in one of a dozen boxes yet to be unpacked as it’s obstetric emergencies day tomorrow.

Obstetric emergencies got me like this:

So I might be in a puddle tomorrow.

H xx

Diary of a Newly Qualified Midwife: Day 2

Day 2: Unit orientation

Today was very different from yesterday indeed.

I met a couple of dozen lovely people who are my new colleagues ( I am a midwife, I am a midwife, I am a midwife), I got to see another lovely woman from my uni cohort as I was taken on the full tour of the unit and I discovered I already knew all the names of everyone in my induction group…because it’s just me!

That’s right. Billy No Mates RM

So when I first realised this, I felt a bit like I was a nuisance as everyone was giving me individual tutelage on various aspects of the job. Then I realised what a privilege it is as all the questions are mine, the equipment is mine and I could stay in one or two rooms for induction as I only require one seat (despite my best efforts at McDonald’s).

We talked about rotas and holiday and pay schedules (I am a midwife, I am a midwife, I am a midwife). I got a great paperwork pack and everyone I met was hugely welcoming. I surprised a consultant by returning his French conversation with my own (not too shabby) French and not being laughed at although I may now have to increase my obstetrics vocabulary.

I left to head to Paperchase to get a file for my competency paperwork and documentation and was still managing to feel like a fraud and abit overwhelmed with informatjon and floor plans (I am a midwife. I am a midwife. I am a midwife) when I encountered an actual puppy

and suddenly everything was ok 🙂

Tomorrow I have a suturing workshop (whaddup, Bear Factory skills?!), catheterisation refresher, and a small mountain or e-learning to crack on with. An e-mountain. Not Everest.

Looking forward to it!

Diary of a Newly Qualified Midwife: Day 1

Day 1. Trust Induction 

Had the speakers not been engaging and charismatic, this would have been Death by PowerPoint. 

From the effervescent host with the magenta flashes of hair (you can guess why I liked that!) to the RC Chaplain. He told us a couple of stories; that of a woman in her 80s who was in great emotional distress while in hospital as her husband of forever had handed a letter to her nurses to give to her. 

He left her with a letter

But the second, cheerier highlight of his segment was him explaining that there were locks on some prayer rooms as he’d had to advise a young lad and his three female companions that it was not a room for frolicks – and while latching the door might have saved their blushes, not pulling the curtains was a rookie mistake.

Infection control visited and showed us the massive drop in cases of MRSA and C-Diff that had occurred by implementing very simple hand washing and anti- cross contamination measures. We had our hands squirted with goo that showed up under UV (quiet in the back there, this is a respectable establishment) and were sent off to the bathrooms to scrub our hands for UV inspection. Upon waiting in the long line of women, we all witnessed a woman exit a toilet cubicle, see there were a couple of dozen people waiting to wash hands…and exit the bathroom.

You couldn’t make it up.

A clinical Trust Induction arrived in the afternoon and the diverse group of attendees ranging from ER nurses, paediatric nurses, HCAs and I were introduced to scenarios on a video clip of dramatised shitty care. Included a lonley, ignored older gentleman and made me want to scream at the screen. I did not.

Finally – e-learning. It was like the stuff we had to do in uni, the edge being taken off the manual handling slides by the fact I was being paid to look at them.

I met with one of the women from my cohort who now works there and it was amazing to see the change in her. So confident and settled – gave me hope that I might not be out of my depth after all. I’ve been so nervous but seeing her was a tonic, she made things sound straightforward and achievable.