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Katie Phillips

Midwifery

Katie is a current BSc Midwifery student. Her favourite thing about studying Midwifery is the expertise of the academics and guest lecturers.

What were you doing before you came to study at City?

Before attending university at City, I’d worked in the creative industry. My previous degree and background was in fashion design, I wasn’t getting much satisfaction out of the work that I was doing and decided to take the leap and go back to university. I worked as a domiciliary carer, studying my access course to achieve the entry requirements for the BSc Midwifery course, and attended midwifery study days and antenatal classes to gain experience.

Why did you choose to study Midwifery, and why did you decide to study at City?

I chose to study Midwifery because it is the most amazing role and one of the oldest professions there is. It is a privilege and an honour to be (as the meaning of the word “midwife” means) with woman, caring and supporting families is so satisfying for me. I’m also fascinated by pregnancy and childbirth and I’m passionate about advocating for women. I found I needed to complete a BSc degree to become a midwife. Having previously studied at degree level before I knew what I was looking for in a university. City stood out for me for several reasons, I loved the clinical skills facilities on offer, the size of the cohort, the layout of both theory weeks in university and weeks in clinical placement and the NHS trusts that City is connected with.

What is your favourite thing about studying at City?

My favourite thing about studying at City has to be the academics and guest lecturers we are exposed to on the course, they are all experts in their own individual fields and most are completing research whilst teaching. City has a centre for Maternal and Child Health and has published a variety of research collaborating with service users and other institutions to improve outcomes.

What kind of things are you involved in outside of your course?

Outside of my course I am part of the Midwifery Society at City and have attended events such as the Active Birth workshop run by Dr Lucia Rocca-Ihenacho and a very informative guest lecturer by Pete Wallroth Founder & CEO of the charity Mummy’s Star. I am fortunate enough to be able to work alongside my course as a student ambassador for the marketing team at City, I’ve got to do a variety of fun things such as work at higher education fairs at huge venues, be filmed in promotional material about commuting to City, and more recently being a brand ambassador for my course.

Where have you been on your clinical placements?

On the Midwifery course at City you are allocated one NHS trust in your first year and stay at the same trust for the duration of the course, which I know is different to both other courses at the university and other universities. I have been everywhere in the maternity department of our trust from the beginning of a client's journey at the antenatal clinic for a booking appointment, to the community seeing the client’s at the end of their journey with midwives but the beginning of their life as a family. I’ve enjoyed the continuity of care that as a student I can try to facilitate as much as possible. Being able to develop that ‘professional’ friend relationship with a woman and be with them for their journey into motherhood is incredibly fulfilling.

How are placements allocated and where are they based?

Placements on the Midwifery course on my year of entry were allocated via the postcode of your current address, for me that was the house I was already living in as I’m a mature student and I wasn’t looking to relocate, but for some it is the address of the student halls they move into upon entry of the course. Currently if you are a student at City studying midwifery you can train at any of the following: The Royal London Hospital, Whipps Cross University Hospital, Newham University Hospital, North Middlesex University Hospital, Homerton University Hospital, University College London Hospital and newly this year Queen’s Hospital. This might change in future years, as it’s likely that the University will develop new partnerships.

How much time do you spend on placement?

All midwifery courses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are required to run according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) standards in order to qualify and become a registered midwife. The NMC require you to spend some of your time learning the theory at university and the rest of your time spent in clinical placement and learning clinical skills in the facilitated labs at university too. In the first year of my course I spent roughly 21 weeks in clinical placement working 37.5 hours per week approximately, for the second and third year of the programme I was expected to complete 29 weeks of clinical placement in order to have enough hours to graduate and qualify as a registered midwife. The proportion of time spent in clinical placements during each year of the programme can change for each cohort so if you’re planning to start studying Midwifery soon it might be a bit different, you’ll be given more details about your timetable when you start the course.

What would be your advice to students about to start their first placement experience?

Comfortable shoes! Introduce yourself to everyone from the consultants to the receptionist of the ward and definitely to every woman and family you are working with. Don’t panic about not knowing anything, you will start to pick things up, be brave and explain the skills you’d like to practice to your supervisor at the start of the shift. Always carry a pocket-sized notebook and several black pens and expect some of those pens to disappear. Finally, keep hydrated and rest well, your brain and body can’t operate to your full potential if you aren’t, self care isn’t just a trend it’s important.