I guessed that the easiest way to answer all the questions about what to do before starting midwifery would be to type it all out for the whole world to see!
So if you want to know more about what to do before starting the course, perhaps what not to do, what to buy and what not to buy, please read on…
If you’re reading this because you’ve been offered a place to do midwifery, then a big congratulations to you are in order! If you’re reading this because you’re an aspiring student midwife, then I’m sure I’ll be congratulating you some time soon. And if you’re mid-way through the course, well done and keep going, you’re doing fab!
When my place for midwifery was accepted back on 17th August 2017 (A-level results day!!!), I was OVER. THE. MOON. – I couldn’t quite believe I was going to be a student midwife. From then on, I was just too excited to get started but I had absolutely no idea what I needed to be doing or buying before my course begun in February 2018.
I had some people telling me to do pre-reading (who knows what I was supposed be pre-reading about though). I had others telling me to buy a few books to get myself started. I was advised to research key midwifery topics. Did I follow this advice? Absolutely not, I did my own thing.
The only books I read were fiction novels that somehow related to midwifery. These included Diane Chamberlain’s “The Midwife’s Confession”, Sheena Byrom’s “Catching Babies” and “The Baby’s Coming” by Virginia Howes. These were a lovely insight into midwifery without having to use your brain too much – what a perfect combo!
I was determined not to buy any meaty textbooks before starting. Have you seen how expensive these books can be?! My plan was to wait for the advice of lecturers on which books would benefit me, and also until I could check out the books in the library to see whether I liked the look of them (try before you buy and all that). This then meant that I wasn’t spending any unnecessary money on books I might not use, and trust me, you’ll want to keep as much of your student loan in your account for as long as possible!
When buying books, remember to find the newest edition possible. I’ve used each one of these books massively throughout my first year so I’m sure they will come of use to you at some point too!
As for pre-reading, I personally didn’t really do any (sorry!). I didn’t know what to read about and I reassured myself that I was starting a brand new course where I wasn’t expected to know everything on the first day. After all, we are paying over £9,000 a year to learn, not to teach ourselves before we’ve even begun.
My advice would be to cherish and use your spare time as best you can. Midwifery is a demanding course that entails placement shifts of over 37 hours a week as well as theory work, so you’ll thank yourself for making lots of memories with family and friends before these three years of training.
What to buy?
This is mainly down to personal choice. You’ll know more once you’ve started and you can get ideas from the students in your group. However, there are a few essentials you might want to pop in your basket. I’ve popped some links below too just in case.
1. A bag.
Sounds simple, but you’re going to want one big enough for folders, a laptop, water and all of those handbag extras e.g. a pencil case, snacks, the pouch for your girly bits (I hope it’s not just me who carries one of these, an absolute essential), your purse etc.
2. A lunch box.
So handy to grab if you’re on shift! Mine is from Dunelm but most places sell really cute ones.
3. A diary.
I’m honestly not sure I’d survive without my diary as a busy student. Lots of students seem to get theirs from The Happy Planner Company, who make them specifically for healthcare students and are super lush. I wanted a more personal one so I ordered one with my name on from Martha Brook! But any diary will be a great addition to your bag.
4. Water bottle.
Everyone is hoping to be a little more eco-friendly these days so the best way to start this is by re-using a water bottle. I seem to be getting a little collection of bottles, my two faves being the classic ‘Love Island’ bottle and a Chilly’s bottle (keeps your water cool even on a really hot day).
I’m sure you’ll expect to be wearing a very pretty, very stylish pair of shoes as an NHS worker. Each hospital will have their own shoe policy but the general idea is to be black, wipeable and closed-toe (midwifery can be a messy profession!). The overall favourites seem to be the Clarks ‘Unloops’ BUT as a young 19 year-old I really didn’t fancy these… I know they’ve got to be comfy but there was absolutely NO way I was going to put these on my feet! Instead I opted for the Sketchers GoWalk 4; these are like walking on air, aren’t too much of a fashion mishap and can easily be thrown in the wash. When looking at Sketchers, try to avoid the netted ones as your feet may get soaked in all sorts of liquid!
6. Plenty of black pens.
These go missing like you wouldn’t imagine!
7. Laptop and Printer combo.
You’ll need somewhere to type and print off all those essays.
8. USB stick.
Super handy to bring between home and uni to keep your work with you wherever you go!
Hopefully these tips will help guide you before you start your course, but if you have any questions at all, please do message me on Instagram or send me an email!