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Nicola Bristow

'I had friends who had studied here previously and had a good experience, not just with their courses but overall at the University.'

Please enter the city and country you are from
London, UK

Why did you choose to study at City, University of London?
City has a good reputation. I had friends who had studied here previously and had a good experience, not just with their courses but overall at the University.
Meeting the tutors at the selection day was also really helpful. I was impressed with the passion that they showed for Midwifery..

Why did you chose to study this particular course?
Midwifery will be my second career. I spent a long time considering applying and having a career change. I wanted to work in a caring profession and had always considered Midwifery. Midwifery is an exciting field and it is an opportunity to work with women, empower them through a transformative time in their lives and advocate for them.

What has been your favourite part of your course so far and why?
It is hard to find one favourite aspect, however, the opportunity to explore areas of personal interest in Public Health and the optional modules in year two are good. The dissertation module is challenging, but again the opportunity to really look into an area that is of interest to you is great.

How have you found the teaching on your course?
The teaching has been good. Your own self-directed learning is key to success during the placement and block of theoretical study, but the lecturers are always available if you need additional support with any aspect of your course.
The lecturers all have their own areas of interest and it is great when their passion for their particular aspect shines through.
They are all also aware of the stresses of the course. We all have personal tutors and link lecturers at our hospitals. I know that if we need to speak to them about anything they will do their best to listen and help.

How have you benefited from the facilities available at City? (e.g. Clinical skills labs)
The clinical skills labs are great. Especially when you are preparing for OSCE exams. We have recently got some new prompt models which are brilliant.
The library is well stocked with literature relevant to each aspect of the course. There are also lots of different work and break out spaces across the campus as well as onsite IT support. All of which have been helpful during my degree.

Could you tell us about any placements; where they were based? What did you most enjoy? What aspects did you find most challenging?
I have been based at the Royal London Hospital for the duration of the course.
The placement experience has many ups and some downs but the small wins are the best. When you have the opportunity to make a connection with a woman and know that your actions have made a real difference to her.
Additionally when you get a great mentor the relationship can really advance your learning and build your confidence.
The role of the Clinical Practice Facilitator and the link lecturers at the Hospital is also important. They are a vital source of support to all students- without ours I would have been completely lost at points!

How will your placement help you with your future career?
The placement is the backbone of the course. You quickly realise that all of your learning hinges off placement, there is so much you cannot learn in a classroom. I understand that the practice learning model in my third year will stay with me forever. Reflecting on your own practice, using cases as learning points and keeping up to date with advances in Midwifery and guidelines is one of the most essential aspects of a career in Midwifery and on this course we are supported to do that from day one.

What has been your biggest challenge whilst studying at City?
Trying to juggle everything. The placement experience is demanding and can be a source of stress as well as meeting academic commitments. But this is the nature of a Midwifery degree. Finding time to do the things that keep you sane or help manage stress has been really difficult at points also earning money, but City has a lot of additional non course related support services. I have really benefited from using the Student Centre for support and using Unitemps to help find flexible work.

If you could give one piece of advice to a prospective City (Midwifery) student, what would it be?
Join the Midwifery Society! It helps broaden the experience of training and learning by incorporating a range of interesting speakers and events. You also get to meet PG dip students, students based at other hospitals and students in other years. It keeps you looking outwards when the stress of placement and study is getting too much.
I know it says one but I am going to put two! The second is to find or keep your hobby and stick to it. It is hard with the time pressures on the course to have a ‘normal’ routine but if you do yoga, go to the gym, knit - whatever it may be stick with it or take one up. Anything that gives you half an hour of something non midwifery related is super important.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
Go on holiday and sleep!! After that I want to go straight into my preceptorship year. I hope to build my confidence as an autonomous practitioner over that first year, then I would really like to work in the community. In the longer term I hope to broaden my experience and work with specialist teams that support vulnerable women throughout their pregnancies and eventually branch into a public health role. Midwifery careers can be so varied, so I am pretty excited about the future.