You arrive at work, you are apprehensive, nervous and out of your comfort zone. You look down and you suddenly realise you are naked!
Well, you are not really naked, but that is how you feel when you are an agency midwife. Turning up to a hospital that you are not familiar with, you have not met the people, you don’t know the hospital guidelines and protocols, where the staff room is or the toilet. You don’t know the etiquette of breaks, whether you can have that much needed coffee or whether you can join in with the banter in the office when you are an outsider… it can all be a little daunting.
When you arrive you realise quite quickly how different units feel, whether people are happy there, welcoming and pleased to see you. I suppose if a maternity unit needs agency staff they are probably always going to be pleased to see an extra pair of hands! But it is very obvious whether there is good morale or not.
Its always going to be daunting going to different maternity units and feeling apprehensive, but for me it has been enlightening, boosted my confidence and made me feel a bit more humble for any new people that come to my unit.
I would say working in a different unit has made me feel so much more confident in my midwifery skills, I have these skills ingrained in me and so even though some skills are not used daily, I am not rusty.
I quickly realised that a woman in labour is the same whatever the unit and all they want is to feel safe and to be cared for.
I feel like I could go anywhere and feel happy with my knowledge and skills.
Being made to feel welcome, included and part of a team, as an outsider, is so important and something that I will strive to make sure others feel as welcome as I have been made to feel as an agency midwife.