Health Care Professions / Occupations
Health Care Assistant
In March I applied to be a healthcare assistant (hca), with the nearby nhs hospital trust, after waiting for all the health assessments, crb checks, references, compulsory courses to be completed, last weekend I finally undertook my two compulsory shadow shifts at the hospital. I was fairly nervous about doing these, as I ... have not worked for a while, and the hospital seemed extremely daunting as it is a very large place. I was not really sure what a shadow shift meant, don't get me wrong I knew that it meant I needed to shadow another hca, but I didn't know what I personally would have to undertake, what I was expected to know and do.
I searched on the internet via google, I went on numerous nursing forums, hospital websites, etc, but I never found anything that was of any help to me. I wanted to be able to find a review, a statement, a poost on a forum, a case study.........of someone that had been in my position, but I couldn't find anything of any relevance. So this is why I am writing this review, I am writing it to inform people of what is expected on a shadow shift at a hospital for a hca, and also to let people know of my experience on the shadow shifts and how I felt.
I undertook two shadow shifts, one on Saturday working from 2.30pm-9.30pm and one on Sunday, working from 7am-3pm, I will now let you know how I got on.
****My First Day****
To begin with, I got given a list of all the wards and where they were situated in the hospital grounds, I am a bank hca, which means that I can be put on any ward, so the list is very valuable to me, or it should of been. I was placed on an elderly ward for my shadow shift, the list told me that it was in south wing, when in fact it was in west wing, after much walking around corridor after corridor and not finding the ward I asked someone, who pointing me in the right direction, luckily I got to the hospital early for this exact reason, so that I could find my way without having to rush. This is the first piece of advice I would give to someone in the same position, I would tell you to arrive with time to spare, so that you can find your way and not be late, as being late does not look good on your first day.
Once I finally arrived at the ward, I was greeted by a health care support worker, who was extremely friendly and who showed me to the staff area, where I could get changed into my uniform. This first point of interaction was extremely important to me, and it set me up for a nice afternoon and evening ahead, to have someone greet you who is so cheerful, who is working on a ward that can be extremely demanding, really made me feel at ease and made me realise that you need to have a sense of humour and a good balance of when it is essential to be serious, and when it is necessary to smile and laugh. As this job can often be a struggle and a challenge, everybody needs to have a sense of humour to lighten the mood.
Once the shift began, it was time for what they call a handover, this is where the staff nurse from the previous shift hands you out a chart, this chart has all the relevant patients names on, why they are in hospital, what care they need, how often they need there observations done, and when they are estimated to go home, I cannot elaborate on this just yet, as I need to be there a lot longer to work out exactly what everything means.
The staff nurse then gives a run down on how the patients have been on the previous shift, what still need to be done and when etc, others were making notes on there charts, but as it was my first shift, I was unsure of what to write, but now I have figure that I will write anything that I feel is of relevance to the job that I need to undertake. They often use abbreviations for many terms relating to the patients condition, so I would advise that you find out what these mean, I was given a handout with some of these on, but not all, so this is something that I have to undertake also.
It is advisable to also ask if you are unsure of what things mean, maybe not while they are in the middle of talking about a patient, but make a mental note to yourself and ask afterwards.
After handover I was assigned to a health care support work level 3 (hcsw3), I had to as the shift suggests, shadow her, watch and observe what she was doing but where a shadow just stays by your side and does nothing, you have to physically undertake the relevant tasks that you are told to do, from making beds, helping take obs, help with feeding (for those patients who are unable to do this themselves), help assist them to the toilet, help with personal care, help get them comfortable in there beds etc, for most of these you are often in two's, so you are not left to do all the above on your own.
For a couple of hours on my first shift it was a little bit manic as an event occurred whereby social workers occurred, so the hcsw3 that I was shadowing as busy dealing with that, so basically I was floating around helping whoever needed help, there was another hca working, another hcsw3, a staff nurse, a more senior nurse (unsure of exact title - it was too long to read on her badge) and there was a doctor, so I was following them all around and learning as I went.
On this shift I was shown how to fill out an observation chart, I am still not 100% on this, but I am about 90% sure of what to do. These charts can be extremely daunting, and there is a certain way that they have to be filled in, this will be explained to you on the nursing induction course before you start, and the person who you are shadowing will help you with this, also once again just ask, maybe not when they are busy, as hospital workers can get extremely stressed very quickly, but when there is a quiet time, test the water and ask.
I received a 30 minute break on this shift, which was actually quite sufficient, I didn't feel like I needed any more. I was on my feet for the entire shift, walking from each bay, from one end of the ward to the other and then back again, this was constant throughout the shift, I look at this as a positive, I was busy, and although it could ache your feet after a while, it is exercise, which can only be a good thing.
I came away from this first day feeling really happy, I enjoyed it, I had many stories to tell my husband as the shift was quite eventful, and there are a lot of little quirky things that tend to happen, I managed to get home at about 9.50pm, so it was time for tea or more like supper, then bed.....as I have another shadow shift on Sunday morning..................
****My Second Shift****
This shift began at 7am, it was on the same ward so I knew where to go, a couple of new patients had appeared over night, which is generally what happens in a hospital setting, I didn't get to see them as they were male and I was mainly based on the female part of the ward on this occasion.
Being given my own section of the ward was actually quite nice, as it gave you a chance to get to know the patients a bit more, as you were in and out of the rooms and bays constantly for 8 hours, so you became familiar to them and them to you.
Once again we had the handover at the beginning of the shift, then I was assigned to shadow a hca, although once again I ended up shadowing two hcas and a hcsw on different occasions. It is not realistically possible to just shadow one person for 8 hours in a hospital setting, as that person will no doubt get called off to do something else. When this happens you just need to use your initiative, have a look around, see if there is anyone who needs help, see if you can assist someone, ask if anything needs doing etc.
Luckily on this shift there was a nurse and a hcsw that I was familiar with and who I had met the day before, so it was nice to have someone who was familiar, this helps to make you feel sttled in your surroundings, because at the start of being a bank hca this wont be the case, as you can be put on a variety of different wards where you will not have worked with any of the staff before, I feel that this wont always be the case as I guess you will often overlap with other bank staff and you can also request to go on wards that you have been on before.
Anyway, back to the shift. This shift was an hour longer than the evening one, this shift by the way is called an early and the evening one is called a late. This shift was slightly more demanding than the late shift and you have to undertake more personal care of the patients, by this I mean that they needed washing, changing etc. You also had to aid with breakfast and lunch, so you had to make sure that they were all fed and had eaten enough. You also had to make sure that they were given drinks and drinking enough in between, a few of the patients were unable to drink by themselves so it was up to us to assist with this. It was also necessary to do observations, for the first time I was left on my own to do 5 of these, to start with I was unsure, but I got the hang of it in the end. By observations I mean blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, oxygen, whether they are alert, respirations, and there par score, to work the par score out you will find that there is normally a laminated card attached to the trolley that you use, so if you just take a few seconds to look at it then you can work this out, I managed to get a par score sheet which I will now carry around with me, I am not going to go into what a par score is as I am not 100% sure about it myself yet, but I do know that if you work it out to be 3 or above then you have to inform the nurse. I will find out about this, and there is a course that you can do so you understand this further, which I feel is a good thing to do.
I received two 30 minute breaks on this shift, which again were enough for me, by the end of this one I was a little more tired, but I still enjoyed it, however daunting it was being left alone to do obs, I really appreciated it at the end, as it made me become more independent and a lot more confident in attempting it next time.
To anyone who is due to undertake there shadow shifts soon, don't be nervous, there are people who are there to help you, and they never seem to mind when you have a question, as long as you ask it when they are not extremely busy or when they are doing obs (for this you need to be quiet). Go in there confident, and if you are not usually confident like I am not, then go in there and make out you are, by the end I guarantee that you will be, it really helped me feel good about myself, it has given me the belief that I am not useless, that I can do more than be a full time mum and housewife, and eventually I can either decide to do nurse training or do nvqs which will allow me to do more clinical things, such as dressings etc.
I would have loved to find a write up about this before I started, I hope that this helps someone, I must just say though, that all wards are going to be different, mine was an elderly ward, but you can be placed anywhere if you are on the bank, for instance my first two proper shifts this coming weekend are on orthapeadics on Saturday and renal on Sunday, maybe I will write another review in a few months, once I get settled in. I have only given it a four star, as it was only my shadow shifts, i am waiting to start properly before i increase it to 5.
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Those of you who have read my review on "self employment" will know that I changed career a few years ago, and embarked upon a new venture. I became a complementary therapist, and reflexology was one of my main treatments, and the one that I enjoyed the most. **What is reflexology?** Reflexology is an ... ancient way of treating the body's imbalances by gentle working of the feet. It can also be carried out on the hands, and on the face. Every part of the body, including organs, hormones, joints, etc is represented in the feet. The foot is divided into "zones" and by working a particular zone, you are indirectly working the corresponding part of the body. Although it has been documented in the pyramids of Egypt as having been in use for over 4000 years, it is only since the 1960s that it has gained in popularity in the USA and UK. It is used to help reduce stress, to ease aches and pains, and 101 other things. It is also a great relaxer, which in itself has huge benefits.
*Why did I choose it?"
Well, the simple answer is that I have no idea - it just suddenly became something I wanted to do. I had never had a treatment myself, and I don't actually like feet (I worked as a Saturday girl in a shoe shop when I was at school and I hated all those feet, cramming themselves into shoes that don't fit.....and don't even get me started on "back to school" week.....!). I was going through a "career crisis" at the time, and I knew I wanted to do something completely different. I cannot begin to explain why reflexology became so important to me, but it did, and before I knew it, I found myself searching for courses, and planning to set up my own business.......Sometimes you just have to run with these things!
**What qualifications are needed?**
Complementary therapy has been one of those areas that has been unregulated for many years. This means that, unfortunately, it is possible for people to grab a book out of the library on reflexology, read it, and call themselves a reflexologist......... However, thankfully, regulation is being rolled out, and has been taken very seriously by those who want to make a success of being a good therapist. This means that qualifications are required, ongoing training to update your knowledge once you are qualified, and, vitally important, adequate insurance.
I spent a great deal of time looking at the various qualifications that claimed they would be suitable for a career in reflexology - these varied from correspondence courses, with an "optional" practical day's training, to a one year college course leading to a level 3 qualification (about the same standard as an A level).
Correspondence courses - I think that these are fine if you want an insight into reflexology, as a pre-curser to embarking on a full course. BUT, I do think that there is no substitution for working with others, and doing practical training, and a correspondence course will not provide you with that. Some say that they will offer a "hands on practical day" as an optional extra, and I would again say that this is ideal if you want to see if reflexology is something you want to take further, but I do not feel that one day's practical training is enough to ensure you know your stuff properly. Correspondence courses can be picked up from people like BSY (British School of Yoga) and SNHS (School of Natural Health Sciences) both of which can be easily found online. BE WARNED though, that many insurance companies do NOT recognise these qualifications as being sufficient to practice.........need I say more?
Some adult education departments offer short courses in complementary therapies - again, these are an excellent way of trying reflexology in order to see whether it is something you want to take further, without having to commit yourself to a full year's course. These short courses do not lead to a qualification in their own right, and so will only provide you with enough information to pursue reflexology as a hobby with your family and friends, not with enough to set up a business or charge clients (and get insurance).
Many further education colleges offer level 3 courses in reflexology either as a stand alone course on a once a week basis for one year, or as part of a full time course in Holistic Therapy, or Beauty Therapy. Examining boards will vary, but you can be pretty sure that whichever board you are offered, it will be suitable for those looking to take this further and to make a career from it. Popular examining boards include VTCT and ITEC. These will be recognised by the professional bodies, and the insurance companies. Importantly, these courses are long enough and detailed enough for you to get lots of classroom theory and lots of hands on practice. You will also be expected to do a number of case studies (typically of 6 treatments each) with written reports for each treatment which are to be done in your own time. An exam at the end of the course will also be required and will consist of both practical assessment and written content. Course work will be submitted throughout the year, and it is a combination of all of those elements which will determine whether you pass or fail. So you can see that this is a much more thorough way of training than the two mentioned above.
**Where can I train**
As well as the local Further Education colleges, you can look at privately run therapy schools in your area. These should run the same sort of course as the FE college, with the same mix of classroom time, case studies, hands on practical work, and exams, and will lead to the same qualifications. Your choice will be down to the venue and the locality, the timetable and the cost. FE colleges generally do their courses one evening a week. The private schools may do one daytime a week, or every other weekend, so depending on your own circumstances, and whether you are trying to fit this in round an existing job, children etc, will have some bearing on where you train. Cost varies hugely, and depends on whether your local authority is subsiding classes in holistic therapy. When I trained, I was in the last intake to be subsidised by that particular LEA, so the cost of training at the local college was about a third of that provided by a private school. However, had I chosen to wait a year before training, there would only have been about 10% difference between the two options. Finally, whilst FE colleges start their courses in September only, many of the private schools offer a chance to start in January, or April, so you don't have to wait too long to get going!
Do your research thoroughly - the idea is that you enjoy your course as well as learn from it and obtain the qualification at the end. Ask the various course providers if you can visit, and sit in on one of their classes as a prospective student. You will get a good idea of they way they work, and a feel for whether this is the school for you - if it feels right, it probably is. If there is something you are uncomfortable with on your visit, it is better you find out now, not once you have parted with your cash and committed to a year long course. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the tutors AND of the students. Many schools will have an ongoing support network for ex-students.....look at this and it will give you a good idea of the networks that exist from this school, and if possible speak to ex students. Most will be happy to give you their honest opinion!
*So what is the cost?*
You should look at spending around £1000 on a full course. Many places will allow you to pay this in instalments. Of course, this will vary from area to area, but you should ask questions if the course is either much cheaper than this (is it providing you with the right level of knowledge and experience?) or much more expensive (what exactly are you paying for?).
**What else do I need*
As a requirement for my course, you either had to have an up to date anatomy qualification, or do one alongside the course. My "o" level biology was not sufficient so I did another evening each week at the same college to get a level 3 Anatomy & Physiology course. Some schools will combine the two courses, so again, check out the requirements. I also did an exam on Health & Safety which was required.
All that, coupled with your enthusiasm, and your practical experience will allow you to obtain insurance, and get started!
**I'm qualified, what next**
The world is your oyster really. Have a read of my review on Self employment to see some of the advantages and disadvantages of working for yourself, and the efforts that you need to put in to make a success of your chosen career. Don't forget to make use of any support networks that your training provider has - whether it is a summer bbq with ex-students or a formal "ongoing training" session, these are vital to swap ideas, discuss mistakes and successes and to know that you are not on your own.
On my course, there was a huge range of reasons why people were training.....some were looking for a "profitable hobby" in retirement, some, like myself, were looking to become self employed on a full time basis, some were beauty therapists looking to add something to their list of treatments in the salon or spa, and one lady was a qualified and very busy chiropodist with her own business, who wanted something to offer her clients in additional to the chiropody, and reflexology fits in nicely with this.
**What can I do next**
The courses that lead to full qualification will provide you with enough to be a good all round reflexolgy practitioner. But you may decide to specialise by doing further courses. Whether you want to combine reflexology with another therapy such as crystal healing or reiki, or whether you want to specialise in one particular area such as emotional issues, working with terminally ill people, etc, you will find courses to suit. Some of the most specialist courses will require you to travel to attend because they are only held in 2 or 3 locations in the UK, but they would generally be 2 weekends, 6 weeks apart, for example, which is usually quite workable. I chose to specialise in Maternity Reflexology - something that I find so amazing, and it is one of the few areas within the NHS where complentary therapists are encouraged. In fact, on my Maternity Reflexology course, a number of midwives were attending, in order to use it in the delivery suite.
You can choose to work from a room in your own home, with clients coming to you, you can rent a room in a spa or therapy centre, or you can be "mobile" - seeing clients in their own home. Each will have its advantages and disadvantages and you need to think carefully about which is most appropriate for you, your specialism, and the area you in.
**How much can I earn?**
Well, you have to be realistic, and to remember that when setting up any new business, you are unlikely to have a full diary from the word go - it takes time to build up a reputation. But it can happen if you put the effort in, and give amazing treatments! Most therapists in my area charge between £25 and £40 an hour, but realistically you would not see more than a few clients in a day, because you need time to write up case notes etc in between. Be prepared to work evenings and weekends to fit in with your clients who may have full time jobs and busy family lives. You may choose to offer incentives such as "get your 6th treatment free" or introduce a friend for a free treatment.
**What do I think?**
Well, considering that I don't like feet, and I don't really know why I wanted to do this in the first place, I think it is FAB!!!!! I love the results I get, I love the fact that my clients are giving themselves "me" time which is much needed, and therefore leave my treatment room relaxed, I love working with pregnant women, and their newborn babies. But the best thing for me, is that I find GIVING a treatment, incredibly relaxing and satisfying......sometimes I reckon I get just as much out of a session as my client does......and I am being paid for it!! How good can it get!!
**Is it for me?**
Well, I can't say, because I don't know you! But if you think it might be something you are interested in, why not try one of the short courses, or even one of the correspondence courses to get a bit of an insight. Talk to others who have done it in your area, go and visit the course providers, and look on the Association of Reflexologists website.
Anyone can become a reflexologist, but not everyone can become a GOOD reflexologist, and not everyone would have the same passion and get the same out of it that I do. But if you do...........well, enjoy!
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SO YOU WANT TO BE A MIDWIFE OR IS IT MADWIFE?! I don't blame you it is a fantastic rewarding job. However it also entails dedication, lack of sleep, shift work, eating on the run, if you do manage to eat at all, mediocre pay, long hours, awkward positions and long periods of standing, constant studying and updating yourself. And ... with all the bad publicity the profession is receiving why would people want to join this profession. If the government would only support and help us to care for our women and babies! Instead they put hurdles in our way, make it difficult for the newly qualified midwives to get jobs, allowing us to struggle with staff shortages etc
However don't believe all you read in the papers. Let me tell you more about the profession and let's hope if you really feel able to take on such a demanding but rewarding career you will join me in ensuring women's health care is at the forefront!
As a midwife you could be assisting a woman in delivering a new life into the world. How wonderful is that? But a midwife does much more than deliver babies.
Midwives are practitioners in their own right and are responsible for the antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care of women, up until 28 days after the birth, or longer if required. They are the lead healthcare professional attending the majority of births, mostly in a hospital setting although home birth is an option.
They teach mothers parent craft skills to enable them to feel confident in caring for their newborn. Teaching a mother how to feed her baby, changing nappies, bathing babies are a few skills required. The role of the midwife is very diverse. It also involves supporting the mother and her family throughout the childbearing process to help them adjust to their parental role by providing health and parenting education. Midwives also work with other health and social care services to meet the mother's needs including, teenage mothers; mothers who are socially excluded; mothers with addictive problems; disabled mothers and mothers from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
As experts in normal pregnancy and birth, midwives are usually the first and main contact for the expectant mother during her pregnancy, and the postnatal period. They are the lead professional at over 75% of births in the UK. They help mothers make informed choices about the services and options available to them by providing them with as much information and advice as possible.
Midwives care for and support pregnant women, their partners and babies, before, during and after the birth. Some midwives give advice before a baby is conceived, but most will support the mother after pregnancy has been confirmed.
The work of a midwife includes:
-Monitoring the health of the mother and baby with physical examinations and ultrasound scans
-Counselling the expectant mother on issues such as healthy eating, giving up smoking, giving up drinking, domestic abuse, exercise
-Exploring the mother's options for the birth, for example natural childbirth, pain controlling drugs, hospital or home delivery
-Looking after the mother and baby during labour and birth, and for up to a month after the birth.
-Advice on method of feeding baby, in particular encouraging and supporting women to choose breastfeeding. Although at the same time supporting the mother if she chooses to bottle feed her baby.
-Midwives run antenatal and parenting classes which involves teaching expectant and new parents the essential skills needed to care for their baby as well as coping strategies and expectations for labour and birth.
Here are a range of skills and knowledge you need in order to think about a midwifery career.
1. Excellent people skills;
You will provide professional support and reassurance to women from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, during a most emotionally and intense time.
2. Good communication skills;
This is a very important part of the midwives' role, you are not only communicating with other health professionals, but you must be able to listen to women and ensure their full understanding of what is happening to them. During pregnancy, labour and the postnatal period women are very vulnerable and need to know what their options are and understand these options. This period of their lives is not only highly emotional but never leaves them, and as a midwife you want them to have fond memories of such a life enhancing event.
3. Excellent knowledge of the physiology of childbirth
Anatomy and physiology is not easy, but it is imperative that you have a full understanding of this area of midwifery.
4. Confident with your knowledge and ability to offer advice and answer questions fluently
Midwives are the most frequent point of contact for parents to be, so you must be able to answer their questions, share your knowledge and skills with women and their partners and make sure their needs are recognised by the rest of the care team. You will also have students and care assistants under your wing who will look up to you for advice and guidance. Therefore it is imperative that you constantly update your knowledge and skills throughout your career.
5. A good team worker
As a midwife you will be part of a multi-disciplinary team liaising with GPs, health visitors, obstetricians, paediatricians, social workers ( the list is endless) You will also work alongside the parents and baby. The better you know each other, the more rewarding the birth experience will be.
6. Able to deal with difficult situations
You will have to stay calm and alert in times of stress, and enable women to feel confident and in control. On the rare occasions where something goes wrong, you have to be ready to react quickly and effectively.
The term midwife means "with woman" and can be either a female or male, although there are very few male midwives within the profession. Midwifery is the term traditionally used to describe the art of assisting a woman through childbirth. In the modern context, midwives are experts in women's health care which involves giving prenatal care and advice to pregnant women. They attend and assist the woman with the birth of her infant and also provide postnatal care to the mother and her infant.
Midwives are autonomous practitioners who are specialists in normal pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period. They strive to ensure women have a healthy pregnancy and natural birth experience. Midwives are also primary care givers providing general women's health care, and are trained to recognize and deal with deviations from the norm.
Obstetricians are specialists in illness related to childbearing. The two professions can be complementary, but often are at odds because obstetricians are taught to "actively manage" labour, whereas midwives prefer not to intervene unless necessary. Childbirth is a normal healthy experience and not to be medicalised unless necessary. If a woman requires care beyond the area of midwifery expertise, then an obstetrician should be called, but many midwives are trained to handle situations which are considered abnormal, such as breech delivery
Midwives are recognized as responsible and accountable professionals who work in partnership with women to give support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postnatal period They conduct births independently and provide care for the newborn and mother. This care includes preventive measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in mother and child, accessing of medical or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures.
The midwife has a valuable task in health education and counselling for the women and their family. This work also involves antenatal education and preparation for parenthood within the community and schools and may extend to women's health, sexual or reproductive health and childcare.
THE HISTORY OF MIDWIFERY
Midwifery is one of the few health care professions dominated by female practitioners. From Agnodice in ancient Greece to the 18th century in Europe, the care of mothers and delivery of infants has been considered a female orientated profession. As women gave birth, they sought and received care from supportive females. At an unknown point in the cultural evolution, some experienced women became designated as the wise women to be birth attendants. Thus, the profession of midwifery began. Indeed, as historians have noted, midwifery has been characterized as a social role throughout recorded history, regardless of culture or time. In the 18th century however, a division between doctors and midwives arose, as medical men began to contend that their modern scientific practices were better for mothers and infants than the folk-medical midwives. During 18th century England most babies were delivered by a midwife, but by the onset of the 19th century the majority of babies were delivered by surgeons.
It is thought that midwives became a target because not only did they possess excellent knowledge and expertise in childbirth but they were also knowledgeable about contraception and abortion. This concept went against their role and they were known as witches who wanted to depopulate society. This persecution only improved the midwives stance and the first midwifery course was started in America, which has only improved over decades and now midwifery is a recognized and respected profession.
There are a variety of routes to qualifying as a midwife. Most midwives now qualify via a direct entry course, which refers to a three- or four year course undertaken at university that leads to either a degree or a diploma of higher education in midwifery, and entitles them to apply for admission to the register.
Following completion of nurse training, a nurse may become a registered midwife by completing an eighteen month course post-registration course (leading to a degree qualification), however this route is only available to adult branch nurses, and any child, mental health, or learning disability branch nurse must complete the full three year course to qualify as a midwife. Midwifery students do not pay tuition fees, and are eligible for financial support for living costs while training. Funding varies slightly depending on which country within the UK the student is in, and whether the course they are undertaking is a degree or diploma course. For direct entry students funding is in the form of either a non-means-tested bursary or a combination of student loan and means-tested bursary, while post-registration students are normally seconded by their employer and may be paid a salary and have their fees paid for them.
(Taken from the Nursing, Midwifery Council NMC)
To qualify as a registered midwife, you need to achieve one of the following:
Diploma of Higher Education in Midwifery
Degree in Midwifery
Diploma of Higher Education in Nursing (adult branch) followed by a 78 week midwifery conversion course.
You will need general requirements set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). These include:
Good literacy and numeracy skills, good health and good character, and recent successful study experience.
The minimum age requirement for training - 17.5 years old in England, 17 in Scotland, and 18 in Northern Ireland and Wales.
You must agree to undergo a criminal records bureau check; however, a criminal conviction does not automatically exclude you from working in the NHS.
Course providers can set their own academic entry requirements, which can include:
Midwifery diploma or degree - five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) in English and maths/science, plus two A levels/H grades possibly including biology or human biology
Nursing diploma - five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) preferably in English, maths or a science-based subject.
If you do not meet the course entry requirements listed please check with universities because alternatives, such as an Access to Higher Education course, may be accepted.
As a trainee midwife on an approved course, you will divide your time between university and supervised work placements including antenatal wards and clinics, delivery units, postnatal wards and the community.
HOURS AND ENVIRONMENT
(Taken from NMC)
Midwives in the NHS work 37.5 hours a week, which can include evening, weekend and night shifts. Many hospitals offer flexible or part-time hours. Some midwives work extra hours, either as overtime or with an agency.
As a midwife you can work in a variety of settings including hospital maternity units, GP surgeries, health centres, clinics, and in the homes of patients.
In some NHS trusts you will split your time between working in the community and working in hospitals. In other trusts, you will be rotated every six months between ante-natal, delivery, post-natal and community settings. As a midwife in the community you will travel between different clients in your area, so a driving licence will be useful.
YOU STILL WANT TO BE A MIDWIFE?
It truly is a rewarding career; you have the privilege of being a welcome guest at a most wonderful time during a couple's life and witnessing the start of a new life. You are a teacher, providing education to women and their families who are anxious for as much information as you can provide. You also share your knowledge and skills with other healthcare workers and students. You have to keep updated yourself which keeps you interested and knowledgeable. I am now furthering my career with an MSC; there are so many training options once you become qualified. As I said it is hard work, there can be long hours with no breaks, you never know what is going to come through the door. Every day is different and you never get that Monday morning feeling. If you have what it takes look into the job more closely and read as much as you can. But if you are just feeling broody and fancy a job cuddling babies then it is not for you.
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Health Care Profession / Occupation
Profession / Occupation / Write here only if you have personal experience of working as an adult nurse. Why did you decide to become one? What are your qualifications? What are the ups and downs of the profession?
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Profession / Occupation / A Health Care Assistant is a vital member of the nursing team on any ward in any hospital, often undertaking more hands-on care of the patient than the trained nurse
Profession / Occupation / Write here only if you have personal experience of working as a midwife. Why did you decide to become one? What are your qualifications? What are the ups and downs of the profession?
Profession / Occupation / Write here only if you have personal experience of working as a reflexologist. Why did you decide to become one? What are your qualifications? What are the ups and downs of the profession?
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Profession / Occupation / Write here only if you have personal experience of working as a speech therapist. Why did you decide to become one? What are your qualifications? What are the ups and downs of the profession?
Profession / Occupation / Write here only if you have personal experience of working as an architect. Why did you decide to become one? What are your qualifications? What are the ups and downs of the profession?
Profession / Occupation / Write here only if you have personal experience of working as a mental health nurse. Why did you decide to become one? What are your qualifications? What are the ups and downs of the profession?
Profession / Occupation / Write here only if you have personal experience of working as a children's nurse. Why did you decide to become one? What are your qualifications? What are the ups and downs of the profession?
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