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Sarah, Day Unit Midwife

I have always been interested in working in the Day Unit, I think the decision-making, the fast pace and not knowing who might be coming in next, all appealed to me. I started off as a midwife on labour ward, a secondment to the day unit came up and I thought it would be good experience. It was only meant to be for 6 months, 3 years later and I am still here!

Expect the unexpected…

We are a small team but we work closely with the doctors. We have 5 beds available, they are mostly always occupied and that is why it is so important that we can triage the women to the right place in the beginning. We wouldn’t want someone that needed to be seen straight away, sitting in the waiting room.

We see women from 21 weeks pregnant until the first week of birth. There are conditions that we see most often including women with a high blood pressure, if a baby is moving less than normal, women that need scans or concerns about other conditions such an itching, rashes, sickness etc..

We can then refer to the doctor, scan department, labour ward, antenatal ward, give medication and arrange other appointments from the unit.

It can be all or nothing…

Today I am working with a student midwife Carly, I always like having an extra pair of hands and I really enjoy being able to teach at the same time. We have 3 of the 5 beds filled at the moment. The lady in bed 1 has been referred by her midwife as they are worried that the baby may be a little small, so we have arranged for her to have a growth scan in the ultrasound department, we are just waiting for a time slot.

The lady in Bed 2 is not feeling well at all. She is 35 weeks pregnant, this is her second baby and she has not felt like this before. She is complaining of an awful headache that just won’t go away. I have asked the student midwife Carly to perform the basic observations so that we might get a better understanding of what might be wrong. We are concerned that she might have pre-eclampsia.

The lady in bed 3 has just arrived, she is 29 weeks pregnant, expecting her first baby and she is not sure whether her waters might have gone. We start with some observations such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse and a urine sample and hopefully be able to give her a definite answer, 29 weeks is a little early for her waters to be breaking, so we are hoping that it isn’t that.

Ring ring… ring ring…

The department is very busy today, the phone is ringing with more concerned pregnant women, midwives on the community that are needing to ask questions and we are bleeping doctors to review the women that are waiting, its not good to be in a situation where there is ‘bed blocking’ and then we can’t see anyone else.

You need to be a good communicator, be decisive, patient and be able to prioritise well. I love my job on the day unit, the only part which is hard, is not being able to see anything to the end, there is always a handover and I miss being able to admit a lady, be there are the birth and help her to the ward… but other than that, the day unit is the perfect job for me.

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