“Don’t bother applying for midwifery, it’s too hard to get in and you probably won’t get in first time anyway.”
These are just some of the words I heard when I was in sixth form and I was thinking about where to study. I knew I wanted to be a midwife for a long time but I was always told it would be too difficult to get in. And as an 18 year old who had never had children, how would I know how to care for pregnant women? But I didn’t care about what people said and I am so glad that I pushed myself. So I thought it would be quite interesting to talk about how I prepared myself for studying to be a midwife. I will mainly cover what I decided to pursue midwifery, what I studied and what work experience I did.
I am going to sound really cliché here, but I love caring for other people, even from a young age. Whether it was babysitting my younger siblings or nephews, I would always feel happy and like my purpose in life was to care for other people. So from then on I knew I wanted to work in a hospital and look after people.
As a young girl, I would have to babysit my younger siblings and my nephews, and I remember enjoying it. From then I knew that I wanted to work in a hospital. First I wanted to be a midwife, but I just hated chemistry too much. Then in Year 8, there was a fair of some sort and there was a university stand. There was a course outline for both nursing midwifery and I guess this is where I had my “eureka” moment! From then onwards I decided that I would work towards one of these courses.
At school I studied the subjects I enjoyed, but I also made sure to do some subjects that were health related. This included GCSE Health and Social care. I also studied AS biology and A-level Psychology. I’d like to add that whilst at school in year 11 I often spent time with our career’s advisor and her input was invaluable. She guided me in the right direction in terms of what subjects I should be doing, where I could get work experience and little things I could do as an extra to make my application stand out.
Whilst at sixth form still, I had the opportunity to attend a summer school in particular for midwifery. We had the opportunity to attend lectures and speak to midwifery lecturers, which was useful as they helped to advise us on what we could do to help strengthen our applications.
I made sure to go to as many open days as possible. By doing this, I could actually speak to current student midwives to see how they got onto the course, and I also could speak to midwife lecturers and gain more information on how to apply for the course.
I did most of my work experience whilst at sixth form. The summer before I started, I got a job as a mentor for students about to start Year 7. This was from about June to August and I learnt so many skills that I can now say are transferrable to midwifery, these being communication, care and commitment. I also managed to gain work experience in two hospitals in their maternity units, which was an achievement in itself as trying to find work experience in hospitals is really difficult!
I was also lucky to start a temporary Christmas job at Boots, and ended up staying there for 11 months. Once again this job helped me so much when I was applying for midwifery, as I learnt how to communicate with a variety of customers and how to manage my time effectively and efficiently.
As an important side note, I’d like to say you don’t necessarily have to have had experience in a hospital as it so difficult to actually get one to have you, but make sure that you get experience somewhere! Work experience allows you to gain several skills that you can transfer to whatever it is you want to do, and universities often want to see that you have these transferrable skills when they are reading applications.
I know this was quite a long post, but I hope that it gave you an insight on what I did in order to get into midwifery. I will perhaps talk about the actual application process in another post, because that is a whole another ballgame. If there is something I’d like you to take from this, it’s staying passionate and getting work experience and I think that these two things interlink. If you’re passionate about something, nothing anyone says to you will stop for you from that thing. And by gaining work experience, you are gaining knowledge from that field, which shows your passion even further!