FBMH Stories: Vimbai Tagarira

As part of our FBMH Stories feature on Instagram, we spoke to Vimbai, a final year Midwifery student.

Why did you choose to study Midwifery?

I realised that I had a passion for women’s health, and after a hospital placement abroad, I realised it was specifically maternity I was interested in. The opportunity to be with women and families during the life changing experience of having a child appealed to me. I wanted to care for women and families in a time where they might be vulnerable.

When I started the course I realised that I liked the way it is timetabled. Manchester does a split week timetable that splits each week between placement and theory, rather than block weeks of placement or theory. Midwifery is a very practical course.

I feel like it helps me to integrate theory and practice, and I like that every week is different. It does mean that I have to be very organised because my timetable is different every week. Having to juggle shifts and Uni days in the same week was a bit difficult at first, but in the long run I began to enjoy it.

I chose to do midwifery at Manchester because I wanted to stay close to home, and my previous degree was at Manchester, so I knew it was a good university to study at.

How did you feel coming back to Manchester to do another degree?

I was nervous. It was my second degree and I didn’t know what to expect. I thought I would stand out as a mature student but I didn’t – the cohort was very mixed in ages. We got an overview of what to expect from the course, and the do’s and don’ts as a student midwife.

Overall, the message of the day was ‘it will be hard work, but it will be worth it’.

What did you think of the Manchester lifestyle?

I love Manchester because you get the big city perks without it being overwhelming. There’s a lot of culture in Manchester, with people from different parts of the world living here.

I love the many places to eat here. I also love that if i want to get out of the city, I can drive to lakes and parks within Greater Manchester, and I can get some peace and quiet there.

 What’s the most challenging thing about midwifery so far?

Midwifery is not just a theory based course where you can close a book and forget about it. Your actions affect lives and it affects you too – physically, psychologically and emotionally.

You learn so much, and grow as a person because caring for other people and becoming a competent midwife is a big responsibility.

How do you think you’ve grown as a person?

I feel like I have found my voice through midwifery. It’s helped me to become more confident and come out of my shell. You realise your voice matters, when you see that women actually listen to what you say and trust you. When a woman is in labour she recognises your voice, and when you’ve built that relationship with her and her family, she trusts you.

What are your best memories of the course?

When women or families I’ve cared for say thank you, and tell me I made a good difference to their experience by being there. That’s what keeps me going. Good grades can be rewarding but ultimately, it’s changing a woman or family’s experience for the better that is most rewarding.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is about to start their midwifery degree, what would it be?

Know what you’re going in to. Do your research, be prepared, and know the reasons why you have decided to do the course. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. You form a little community with the other student midwives  because they also understand the journey you’re on, so use that as a support system.

Utilise other forms of help such as mentors on placement, or lecturers. They are there to help you and want you to succeed on the course.

What are your plans post-graduation?

I have secured a job at the Hospital Trust I have done my placements at. The role is within a Newly Qualified preceptorship programme. I feel really blessed to have gotten a job at this early stage as a lot of new graduates in other courses may not experience this.

Now I can concentrate on finishing my course, and know that I have a job waiting for me at the end of it! In the future, I hope to do a postgraduate degree but I’d like to get some experience in practice first.

What do you see the future of midwifery being like?

There are a lot of changes in Midwifery at the moment. I see the changes leading to more autonomy, and responsibility for the midwife.

There are drives for midwives to become coordinators of care, and have more input in to public health.

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