Midwifery student, Satveer, is currently preparing to enter her third and final year at The University of Manchester. The three-year course is highly commended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and aims to develop students into highly employable, first-class midwives. Below, Satveer gives us an honest account of how she’s found the first two years on the course from the days where she’s felt like packing it in, to the days where it all seems worth it…
Why did I choose to come and study at the University of Manchester? Honestly, I wanted to stay in Manchester, so it was either going to be UoM or Salford University. I knew Manchester university had a good reputation, so thought why not? I had been to the University before when I studied my access course during A levels, so I was kind of familiar with it.
My first day at university…I cried in the toilet. Looking back at this, I think it was just nerves. I have no idea what I was crying for, but I knew I had to let it out before we started for the day, otherwise, things would have gotten weird and messy. Honestly, I can say coming to studying midwifery was one of the best decisions I have made. Some days I find myself questioning my decision…but it’s usually after a 14.5-hour shift or what we call a “long day”. I don’t really want to talk about night shifts because they make me question myself in a different kind of way. But when I do feel like this, I remember all of the lovely comments people say to you such as “when you qualify, you’re going to be an amazing midwife”, “thank you for making this bearable” and “you would never know you’re a student”. That’s when I think, I can’t wait to get out of the whites and into my blues.
Was it what I thought it would be like…in so many ways no. I didn’t expect the workload, the lack of holidays (even though we were clearly told this), the stress, burnout and tears. The tears…I’m not even an emotional person. I don’t cry when I facilitate birth and see new life, but I cry when a woman looks at me and says thank you. On a positive, I never assumed I would make a difference to people’s live, meet so many lovely people and enjoy it so much.
Birth is so different from what you see on television which is why they tell us not to watch one born every minute (which I can totally understand). For example, when you hear about someone’s waters going; let’s just say it’s not how you imagine it with a neat swoosh of water collecting into a little puddle! I learnt what someone’s waters going really looks like and when you leave a night shift and you can hear the birds tweeting away in the morning and your legs are soaked in amniotic fluid you just want the earth to swallow you up. You have to remind yourself that you’ve just empowered and supported a woman to do what nature intended her to do: birth her baby like an absolute boss. So, you walk out of the shift and envision a scene from ‘call the midwife’, bike and cape included.
In terms of the course content, I have found the workload heavy but manageable. I say “manageable” but this usually includes long nights, lots of coffee and the occasional WhatsApp rant! Messages usually include “what’s the point of this assignment”, “how many words have you got left”, “why have I started this two days before the deadline” etc. But uni life is great, I’ve met so many amazing girls who share the same goals as me: to get through these three years and become a confident midwife. Well at least make people think you’re confident even if you’re quaking on the inside. Our lecturers have been amazing and really supported us and made us confident and knowledgeable, so we can go out in placement and do what we really want to, advocate and support our women.
I’m nervous, excited and slightly petrified about starting third year, but I know I’m getting closer to becoming that autonomous practitioner I so badly want to be. I’m grateful to my lecturers for supporting me in getting this far and I’m super excited to graduate and become a madwife… I mean MIDWIFE.