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Am I clever enough to be a midwife?

I remember thinking this myself. Academic work never really seemed to come easily to me and I would never say that I was clever. Now I realise that I just hadn’t studied something that I was really interested in before I found myself studying midwifery.

Having not done A levels, like many people I studied an access course to get into university. This was a learning curve, getting back into the process of writing essays, having someone read your work and feeling like I was being judged, learning how to reference was all very daunting.

I was very pleased that I did it this way though as it meant that by the time I started at university I had the basics under my belt.

Although an access course gives you the qualifications to apply to university, the real learning came in the first year.

Science was always my nemesis at school and suddenly I was doing a science degree, I would never have thought that it would be possible! I really struggled with asking for help with proof reading, submitting draft essays, I think I felt that if anyone read my work they would think I wasn’t very good, I didn’t want anyone to think I was stupid.

I learnt with time that lecturers and your friends on the course all want you to do well.

Although you do need a degree to be a midwife, when you are studying something that you are really interested in, it’s actually easy to write about it. Midwifery is a balance between the science of biology and the art of caring. Being academic doesn’t always make the best midwives, so I took comfort from the fact that I would be a good midwife, but its not likely that anyone would ask me what grade I got for my degree once I had qualified. Do you ever ask your GP for their qualifications?!

By the 3rd year of my degree I felt like I had understood the process of writing and what was needed to get a good enough mark. When I collected my final dissertation, I achieved a 1st (72%) and I said to my tutor ‘I can’t believe it’. Each essay, presentation and exam had actually spurred me on to do better and this was the final result.

I have since gone on to complete my Master’s degree, yet I would stand by the thought that I am not clever, but I am a passionate midwife who wants to learn more. If you have the passion to be a midwife, then it doesn’t matter how clever you are at all!

A few handy tips:

  • Ask for your essays to be read by the tutor, some will read a couple of draft copies and then you can use the feedback to make your essays better.
  • If you think you have any issues with dyslexia or dyspraxia, get tested as there is plenty of help if you are diagnosed with either.
  • Get a tour of your library and find out where everything you need is, librarians are a very helpful resource for your studying journey.
  • Ask your group for help and support, everyone is in the same boat and doing it together is much easier than struggling alone.
  • When you submit your work , be proud of what you are handing in.
  • It is not a competition to see who can get the bests marks, so don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

Article written by Emily Seddon

Emily is a midwife with many years of experience. She is passionate about supporting midwives of the future. As a clinical mentor, student link and being on university interview panels, she knows what it takes to get a place!

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