Studying Nursing & Midwifery FAQ

May 18, 2018

As I'm writing  this blogpost, I am actually about to graduate from my bachelor of nursing and midwifery after four years of study. All the information I will be writing about will be my personal experiences and referring to studying midwifery in Australia!

Why Midwifery?
I jumped into studying a double bachelor of nursing and midwifery straight out of year 12. The main reason why I thought I might enjoy this course was because I loved biology and 'health and human development' in year 12 and I knew I wanted to work in the health care system to some capacity. I've always been a very compassionate person and I loved the idea of working with people, but it not so much in customer pays & you provide a service sort of role... does that make any sense.  Anyway, nursing and midwifery seemed like the perfect job for me!

Why study both Nursing & Midwifery?
There are a few reasons why I also chose to do nursing as well as midwifery. Although you are usually dealing with healthy women and babies as midwife, you will always get some surprises or women with co-morbidities, so its really good to have well versed clinical assessment skills. It is also a lot easier to work overseas as a nurse appose to a midwife, for example if you wanted to work in the UK you would need to do a 12 month 'bridging' course as a midwife, but you don't need to as a nurse. Something you might want to bear in mind if you do want to work overseas in the future. 

Whats the workload like?
This course has a very heavy workload. You need to juggle clinical placements, lectures, workshops, online learning, assignments, exam preparation and continuity of care experiences. I think the workload in first year was probably the heaviest in terms of quantity and breadth of information you need to learn and then the following three years was still a lot, but its a bit more specific and once you have your foundation knowledge down pat you can learn things a bit quicker.  Clinical placements varied in length anywhere between 2 - 6 weeks, and were full time aka 40hours (sometimes more) per week and were completely 100% unpaid. This might be unappealing for people with families to support, but there actually were a few mature aged students who managed to complete the course. Sometimes you're on clinical placement for two months straight and then you might get a random three weeks off in the middle of the semester to work at your part-time job as much as possible. Please note: your part time employer will hate you but it's not your fault and try not to feel bad!

Continuity of what?
Continuity of care experiences are a requirement for all midwifery students. You must hunt down 10 pregnant ladies and stalk them for their pregnancy. No really! You have to find 10 women from the community and attend atleast 4  of their antenatal appointments, 2 postnatal appointments and attend at least 6 of the births. At the time, in first year I remember this being the most daunting and challenging part of my course. It was very difficult and required a lot of confidence to ask women if you can follow them, and I can't thank the twelve women who accepted me enough. It is a great experience as you can really get to know women, and ask them about how their experience of the antenatal appointment was from their perspective. It also allows you to sort of get an inside view of different maternity hospitals and get you thinking about where you might (or might not) want to work in the future.

I think nursing and midwifery is career, there are so many opportunities for professional development, career growth and future studying. Its great because your hours aren't 9-5 and you don't need to work full time if you don't want to. Plus, if you need to finically hustle, say if you were saving for a holiday or house deposit,  you can always pick up extra shifts or work overtime.  

In hindsight I find myself saying I've really enjoyed my course, but I know at times particularly in second year when I was really in the thick of it, I found it really challenging. This course really allows  for a lot of self discovery and you find yourself with opportunities you did not expect! If you are still not entirely sure, I'd say give it a crack, particularly in first year nursing, as you can get credit for quite a few of the subjects for other health science degrees. I know it wasn't until I went on my first clinical day at a maternity hospital that I was 100% sure this was the job for me! Now I absolutely love it and I can't thank my 17 year old self enough for picking this course for me. 

Let me know if you have any questions or want any other blog posts about studying midwifery! I've also done a blog post on my university experience which you can find here

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