Diary of a Student Midwife: ‘Corona Cohort’

By Helen Kaye, student midwife, University of West of Scotland

My name is Helen, and I am a first, nearly second, year student midwife at University of the West of Scotland (UWS). I am hoping to write a few blog posts for MIDIRS, sharing my experiences of life as a student midwife, intended to help current and aspiring student midwives.

The first year of my midwifery course is drawing to a close, and as second year fast approaches, I find this the perfect time to reflect on the year gone by. I cannot believe how quickly first year has gone; it feels like only last week I was nervously signing up to induction tutorials and activities.

Of course, my first year has not been what I, or anyone, had expected. Myself and my fellow first years at UWS started our training in October 2020, in the midst of the global pandemic. The ‘corona cohort’, as we have nicknamed ourselves in a slightly ‘if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry’ fashion, embarked on our midwifery journey in a very different way to previous years. As with previous years, we kicked off our first year with a 12-week theory block, however all of our classes were delivered online via video call. It was a strange feeling getting ready for the first day of my midwifery degree by putting on my slippers and heading to my Dad’s home office.

In hindsight, we all adapted so well, students and lecturers alike. Although desperate for the face-to-face experience we had imagined, we still managed to create a sense of community and support through social media. However, hindsight is a wonderful thing, and it would be unfair to us all to say it was easy.

The pandemic brought a lot of uncertainty for us as new student midwives; one instance which comes to mind immediately is in early 2021, when we were unsure if we would be able to attend practice placements. This doubt was devastating as upcoming placement had been our glimmer of hope through all the online classes and lack of tactile skills practice. We were so fortunate that it was decided we would go out on first year placements as ‘normal’, although I acknowledge not all first-year cohorts across the UK were so fortunate and my heart goes out to you all.

As the pandemic gets under control, I think it’s important that we give recognition of how the past two years have been for student midwives. This course is tough going at the best of times, but the relentless uncertainty is draining and would be testing for the most dedicated of all student midwives. To all the students out there, be proud of yourself. If we can be student midwives in a global pandemic, we can do anything.

My twitter and Instagram handles are both @pathtomidwifery, feel free to get in touch and let us know what you would like to see from these blog posts.