Emma’s blog

Grey to Blue: The end of my midwifery placement

One of my mentors told me that sign-off mentors are the gatekeepers to the midwifery register. From starting off as a first year to qualifying as a midwife, mentors play a crucial and empowering role in shaping future midwives. I think that a lot of mentors don’t get the recognition they deserve for the positive impact that they have on us. After speaking to a few fellow students, a pattern seems to form around the characteristics shared by what could be considered a ‘good mentor’.

The relationship between a student and their mentor acts as a grounding foundation for building up their confidence, making a student feel listened to and valued, which contributes to their clinical experience as a whole. It is a huge responsibility for a mentor to facilitate learning, as well as maintain the safety of themselves, their students and the general public.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a few really great mentors on my placements, and it’s because of their faith in me that I feel competent and like I have progressed in terms of clinical standards. One mentor in particular, I have a really good rapport with. I have such high respect for her as a midwife, and her ongoing passion for midwifery and the care that she delivers is inspiring. I think it’s admirable to be at a stage in your career where you’ve been working for years and progressing, and still come in everyday knowing that you love what you do. That’s the feeling that I get when I start my shift with her, and I hope to still feel the same in many years to come. She is so organised and approachable so I always know where I stand, and she’s a fantastic teacher. After each shift she’d debrief me and help me reflect on our care experiences, then send me home thanking me for the work I’d done with her.
She adapts her style of teaching to suit my needs and one of the main things I love about her is that she treats me like an equal. A student wears grey uniform and is supernumerary to the staff midwives in blue uniform, but she doesn’t make me feel inferior. Instead she acts as my advocate and my guide, truly believing in my future as a midwife. She helps me to appreciate just how rewarding this job really is. On that particular placement I was doing 12 hour shifts which are pretty heavy going, there’s no doubt about that, but I still think when it comes round to 4pm and I have 4 hours to go, that there is nowhere else I’d rather be.

Now unfortunately, not all mentor experiences are positive, but I believe even a negative experience can be a valuable learning opportunity. If a student and mentor do not have a good relationship, it can have massive effects on the student’s learning and damage the important trust and mutual respect that should be in place from an early stage in the placement. A student who is not comfortable around their mentor could rapidly lose their confidence in their own abilities, and will eventually become too afraid to speak up and do something about it. This is worse case scenario, and it’s a shame that it’s likely to happen to a student at least once in their educational career. In those situations all you can really do is make the best of your time on placement, putting yourself forward for tasks, staying positive and open-minded, and seeking support and advice from friends, family and university.
From every mentor I’ve had so far, I have learned something from them about the kind of midwife I want to be, and eventually, the kind of mentor I want to be. A mentor will raise you from first year; a growing embryo with so much potential, to second year; a fully grown baby solely relying on a placenta but able to kick and make itself known, to third year; a beautiful baby detached from it’s cord ready to experience whatever this world has to offer it.
To the midwives and mentors of the NHS going above and beyond to provide the best learning experience for students like us, thank you.



Week in the life of a student midwife

The main point I’m trying to stress in this blog is how different every day is for midwives and student midwives – no two days are the same and you never know what it is you’re going to encounter next. Here is my week in the life of an RGU student midwife, looking over four particular shifts I had in February. (more…)

Why Choose RGU

Thinking about coming to RGU? We asked out bloggers for their reasons about why you should choose RGU! (more…)

Obstetric Emergency – My Midwifery Placement

Throughout our lives there are specific events that change the way we see ourselves and others. Whether these events are good, or bad, we learn from them.

This blog is dedicated to the maternity staff at Raigmore Hospital.

During my first placement as a second year midwife I experienced my first obstetrical emergency. We had been taught the basics of emergency management in uni before this placement, but I wasn’t expecting having to put it into practice so soon. It’s quite good that I can now look back on it and apply the theory from uni to what happened.

The emergency buzzer was pulled, and so followed just about every member of staff on the ward to that room within a few seconds, including myself and another lovely student midwife from my year. One of my mentors asked if I’d like to scribe for purposes of documentation, and while I was pretty anxious I took the pen and paper. The midwives were fantastic in guiding me on what to write, for instance what was happening at what time and who was present.

While I documented, the other student was helping with whatever she could, and she would check that I was alright as it was all happening, and I really appreciated that support. After a while when things started to settle down and the woman was stable, I realised just how many people had come to assist. Senior charge midwives, staff midwives, auxiliaries, healthcare assistants, consultants and registrars; here were a group of healthcare professionals, people with incredible skills and knowledge, communicating and working together to the best of their abilities for the benefit of this vulnerable woman. I am in awe of each and every one of them.

My mentor briefed me on what had happened once it was all over, and she was incredibly supportive considering it was the first time for me. I’m glad that I was able to experience an emergency with the guidance of these midwives as they were so caring and committed. These amazing midwives who sometimes work overtime, tired and hungry on long shifts, dehydrated, maybe even facing problems out-with work but leave it all at the door to do one of the most rewarding jobs.

The midwives, doctors, nurses, staff of the NHS deserve so much recognition for the work they do. It was quite surreal finishing the shift and walking back to my accommodation, passing people in the street and just thinking they have no idea what I had seen that day. That experience was mine to take home, to reflect on and learn from.

I’m so grateful to my mentor for making that entire placement block enjoyable and educational. I learned so much from her, and I’ll count myself lucky if I’m half the midwife she is one day. I’m also grateful to the student midwife who pretty much looked after both of us (if you’re reading this you know who you are, and you were amazing that day).

This emergency experience is something that I will remember throughout my career and in years to come.




If you are interested in studying a degree in Midwifery take a look at the RGU website.

Finishing First Year Midwifery

This September I finished the first full year of my midwifery course, and so much has happened in that time. I sat an exam, I failed essays and passed essays, I moved into a new flat with 3 fantastic girls, I’ve worked in 3 different hospitals during 4 clinical placements, I set up my own Netflix account and I have delivered 10 beautiful babies. (more…)

Student Midwives and Midwifery

Everybody experiences things differently. Everybody has something going on in their life that is important to them. What is important to me are the goals I want to achieve. In hindsight, I think I’ve achieved a few already – getting into uni, first placement, first flat, not being 100% broke (most of the time). The thing is, you never really know how something will turn out until you take that risk, make whatever mistakes need making, learn from others, and most importantly just give it all you’ve got. (more…)

My First Placement as a midwifery student

It’s been nearly 2 months since I started the first clinical placement of my midwifery course, and 5 months since I started university. Looking back on my first day and how nervous I was, compared to where I am now, I feel as though I have grown and learned so much. (more…)

Living in Halls

I may be biased, but I have the best flatmates. We’re all doing something completely different at uni, which I think is great because we all have something to talk about. Plus, we’re from all over the place – Edinburgh, Ireland, St. Andrews, France – we’re a little family all under one roof. (more…)

Two Months as a First Year Midwifery Student

Hi there, this is my first crack at blogging and I only received a C in English so please bear with me! So this post is about my first two months of being a student, and I’d like to share with you what it’s like living in Aberdeen, going to university and moving away from home for the first time. (more…)