The University of Salford Midwifery Society Magazine Semester 3

This semester’s edition concentrates on student mental health.

This semester’s edition concentrates on student mental health.


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The Future Midwife

The University of Salford Midwifery Society Magazine.

Spring 2021

Wellbeing tips for

a great night’s sleep

Mental Health

This edition of the


Society Magazine


on mental health.



2nd year student Sian

reflects upon a


1st year

Studying midwifery

whilst living with

mental health


Academic Hints

and Tips


and Midwifery:

A review of the

Society’s Online



Starting University

during a Global


The Midwifery Society 2021

As we come towards our third trimester, the midwifery society would

like to thank all of our society memebers for your support and

understanding throughout the difficult circumstances that this year

has presented.

As the year draws to a close, we would like to offer a warm welcome to

the new upcoming committe and society members. We hope that you

enjoy being a part of this fantastic society as much as we have.

Meet the Committee

Emma Mahon

Co Chair

Nicola Laughlin

Co Chair

Lorna Richardson

Social Media

Marie Layne


Stacey Mollineux


Nicole Rajan- Brown


Caz Zitha


Hello and welcome to the second edition of our society magazine!

This year as a society we have tried our best to be as engaging as possible

even in these strange times of lockdown and restrictions. We have managed to

hold our first annual awards (which we hope to do again!), the first issue of the

magazine was released and was a great success, we’ve had meditation sessions

led by our well-being officer Nicole Rajan-Brown online, we faciliated an online

aromatherapy for childbirth course as an RCM accredited module, which had

great feedback and finally the bereavement workshop ‘Growing in confidence’.

Thank you all for filling out feedback forms your ideas will be taken forward into

future events! We started this year with so many plans for the society which had

to be changed due to COVID 19, but we are so proud of what we have achieved

and how you as members have supported us.

It is now time - believe it or not - to elect new committee members for the

upcoming academic year, this is usually done early to allow a good handover and

ensure everyone is ready. If you are interested in becoming a committee member,

please contact either of the co-chairs with an expression of interest.

As this is the last time, we will write to you as co-chairs we wanted to wish you

all the best of luck with your continued studies and good luck and best wishes to

all the third-year student midwives who will qualify this year. We hope you have a

happy, safe, and fulfilling career!

Finally, just to say it has been a whirlwind of a year and whether you had just

started in first year - new to midwifery training or in the senior years we have all

had a tough time, but we’ve made it!! I hope you all find some time to reflect on

the last year at some point soon and don’t forget help is always available - so

don’t struggle alone!

Stay safe everyone

Emma and Nicola!

Welcome letter from your



Editor’s Note

Nicole Rajan-Brown- 2nd Year Student

Mental Health. We all have it, yet it is still an area that we

struggle to talk about, struggle to put at the front and centre of our

wellbeing. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic placing an increased

emphasis on the importance of wellbeing, stigma still exists. Alongside

the magnifying glass on these discussions, maintaining resilience,

sometimes at all costs, is often the culture promoted within the system

in which we work. As midwives, we focus so strongly on holistic care.

Yet, for as long as societal stigma remains, the social barriers remain,

there will be families refraining from disclosure.

This edition of The Future Midwife

delves into wellbeing, from a

student, midwifery workforce and a

service user perspective. I encourage

you to reflect on what you can do to

promote your own mental wellbeing,

as well as the steps you can take

professionally to break down the

barriers promoting mental wellbeing,

for both maternity workers and the

families who access our care.

Let’s talk about mental wellbeing.

If you, or someone you know, are struggling with your mental

wellbeing, there is support you can access free of charge.

The University of Salford Counselling Service offer free,

confidential services to all registered students via AskUS.

Student Minds - www.studentminds.org.uk

Samaritans - free phone 116 123 or www.samaritans.org

Mind - 0300 123 3393 or www.mind.org.uk

CALM - 0800 58 58 58 (5pm – 12am) or www.thecalmzone.net

Rethink Mental Illness – 0300 5000 927 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am – 4pm)

or www.rethink.org

If you or someone else are in crisis or immediate danger, call 999

or access A&E.


Page 4-5 Editor’s Note- Mental Health

Nicole Rajan- Brown

Pages 6-7 Contents

Pages 8-13 Feature Article- One student’s experience of studying

whilst living with mental health challenges.


Pages 14-17 Aromatherapy and midwifery- A review of the

Society online RCM acredited aromatherapy workshop.

Stephanie Casey

Pages 18-21 Starting University during a Pandemic. A reflection.

Shoshana Lewis

Pages 22-23 Book Review- The Secret Midwife.

Caz Zitha

Pages 24-25 Wellbeing Tips for a Restful Sleep.

Emma Mahon


Pages 26-29 Academic Hints and Tips.

Marie Layne

Page30-31- Member’s Contributions

Page 32-35 It’s ok not to be ok- 2nd year student Sian reflects

upon a difficult first year of her midwifery degree.

Sian Marie Hampton

Pages 36-37 Key Dates.

Page 38- Get Involved.

Nicole Rajan- Brown

Editor- Nicole Rajan-Brown

Assistant Editor- Stacey Molineux

Design- Caz Zitha

Feature Article

Living and studying with mental health issues

One student’s experience of studying midwifery whilst coping with

multiple mental health illnesses.

I am a student midwife. I am a long term mental health “sufferer”.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression at 13 and generalised

anxiety disorder at 21. I’ve dealt with bouts of teenage bulimia,

adult agoraphobia and, most recently, an informal diagnosis

of adult attention deficit disorder. I’ve pushed through infertility

battles and miscarriages. Despite all of these things, I am stable,

high functioning and committed to following my dream to become

the best midwife that I can be.

I refuse to be ashamed of any diagnoses or for taking medication.

When providing support to other people


refuse to with their own mental health problems, I

be ashamed tell them what I tell myself: you wouldn’t

of any

feel guilt or angst if you had a thyroid

disorder or diabetes or kidney problems.


The brain is an organ and each organ has

or for taking their own set of illnesses. It is how you

medication. approach the illness that matters.

Maybe it’s controversial, but I simply accept my mental health

for what it is. I don’t feel like I’m currently in a position where I

can battle it out and get “better”. I’ve had clinical depression for

more than half of my life, it’s now a chronic thing for me, it’s my

normal. Maybe I could fight it and maybe in the future I will. But,

right now, I choose to use my energy to focus on what I can do

to get around the limitations of my mental health, in ways which

facilitate my learning.

For example, I know that I can struggle to concentrate on heavy topics for long

periods of time and that means I need to mentally drift away occasionally, so

I make sure to revisit material over and over again to ensure I’ve not missed

anything important. For revision, I need to start early. I break things down

into bite size chunks and make posters to cover the common areas of my

house in, so that I can subconsciously absorb information without feeling the

pressure of dedicated revision time.

I can find it hard to sit and write my assignments, so I break it down into

stages. Research, notes, planning. Writing it takes the least amount of

time but the most amount of mental effort. And I have to allow myself to get

distracted. I have to be able to drift away for half an hour so that I can come

back with fresh eyes.

Because of the current

covid-19 pandemic, we haven’t

attended university in person

for a while, but in lectures I

usually need a fidget spinner

or something to keep my

hands busy. Somehow having

an outlet for nervous energy

means I better absorb and


I thoroughly enjoy attending my

clinical placements, especially

hospital based placements. I

love the environment, to be

forced to be so busy that I

simply don’t have time to think

about anything else. Quieter

shifts are harder... a lull in the

buzz can feel quite draining to

me, so if I’ve made sure that

there’s nothing physical for

me to do then I keep busy by

reading what I can. Induction

guidelines, neonatal care

pathways, patient leaflets

about anything and everything.


ut... behind

closed doors,

I’ve seen and heard

so much negativity

and ignorance from

qualified midwives

Hospital shift patterns seem to work better with

my mental health because of the days between

to decompress, reflect and otherwise mentally

untangle what happened on my shifts. I find

community-based clinical placements much

harder, but this is largely something that is

personal to each student. I have friends who much

prefer the 9-5, five days a week, of community

midwifery, and others who feel they thrive on three

8-8 hospital shifts.

I don’t tend to disclose my mental health to

midwives that I’m working with, and I’ve never

seen a woman be treated differently because

of their mental health, and I’ve never seen a

midwife be unkind or disrespectful or dismissive

to a woman’s face regarding any mental health


But... behind closed doors, I’ve seen and heard

so much negativity and ignorance from qualified

midwives about maternal mental health. Postnatal

depression tends to be supported, other mental

health issues... not so much.

Why is she even continuing with the pregnancy if

she’s so depressed now that she can’t cope with

the kids she’s got?” ... “I don’t see what she’s got

to be anxious about.” ... “Anxiety is just a label.”

... “We didn’t have all these problems when I first

started. They’re just fashionable now.” ... Stigma.

Judgement. And I suppose in a way, I get it. It’s

incredibly hard to understand mental health issues

if you’ve not personally experienced them. But do

you really have to understand to empathise? Do

you have to understand to be compassionate? Do

you have to understand to be kind?

I started this degree because I care so much about improving people’s

experiences of maternity care. I wouldn’t be putting myself into debt and

putting my family through the stress of the degree if I wasn’t passionate about

midwifery. But it almost seems sometimes that we care so much about the

people we are supporting that we forget to care about ourselves. University arms

us with mindfulness techniques, we have “wellness wednesdays” and there is

a counselling service that we can access, but at times there still seems to be

that same lack of compassion internally. Needing a mental health day should be

as accepted as a day off for a migraine, but it still isn’t seen that way, because

needing a mental health day means you can’t cope with your course and studies,


The thing is, depression and anxiety both stop you from reaching out, they

frighten you into silence because you become convinced that your voice and

your struggles are so insignificant that nobody is going to care. But it’s going

to be our job to care, and we can’t care for others if we’re not caring about

ourselves too. It isn’t healthy for the workforce and it isn’t safe for birthing

people to have an exhausted, burned out care giver.

Reflective Trigger:

How do you react to

discussions in the staff


If you require support with your Mental Health please contact visit the

University’s AskUS page, where signposting to relevant services is available.

Midwifery asks so much from you, even as a student you have

the same shift pattern & workload as a qualified midwife, plus

reading, plus assignments. It’s hard and it’s necessary and we

know that. But as the next generation of midwives, maybe we

can work together to change the stigma from the inside out.

We can be compassionate towards our colleagues and we can

speak up when we hear those ignorant comments about mental

health. It feels degrading to sit in a room and listen to people talk

so negatively about mental health when you have mental health

issues yourself. The subject of your opinions can’t hear what

you’re saying, but your silently & secretly suffering colleagues

can: they can hear your negativity, your derision, your scorn,

and it isolates them, further chipping away at what little support

they felt they did have in the work place.

So in 2021, let’s actually support one another. Let’s stop

being so derivative in the staff room about other people. Let’s

flood the world with so much love and so much compassion that

mental health problems become just another illness.

I am a student midwife. I have mental health problems. I take

medication. I am not ashamed. And one day, I will be an

amazing midwife, not in spite of my mental health issues, but

because of them.

Midwifery Society Aromatherapy

Workshop 2020

The history of midwifery is fascinating. Women in the 16th century were

classified as witches, simply for possessing the skills to help bring new

life into the world and utilising concoctions of common plants and herbs

to treat gynaecological problems (Ehrenriech

and English, 2010). In contrast with the past,

present day midwives can be any gender,

are highly educated in all things pregnancy

related and are highly regarded in society,

even if most of their work does seem to occur

once the moon is high. Whilst the reputation

of the midwife has changed significantly over

the years, the skills required to help guide a

labouring person through pregnancy remain mostly unchanged. This is

perhaps owed to a practically unchanging human physiology.

Midwives now take great pride in providing care that is personalised,

humanistic and aims to meet the needs of each birthing person as best

as possible. Additionally, Midwives work towards a professional set of

guidelines known as the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) Code

of conduct, which states that care should be safe,

effective, professional and individual to people’s

needs (NMC, 2018).

A good rapport between midwife and

birthing person is integral to the provision

of individualised care. Some birthing people

want silence, whilst others may prefer loud music; some want to stand

whilst other may kneel; some may cry out in pain whilst others go in

on themselves (Myles, 2014). There is no wrong or right way to labour.

However, having a midwife who is trained in alternative therapies

can provide extra support. This may help both the labourer and the

practitioner to enjoy a respectful and comforting birth space.

Similar to the midwives of the 16th Century, practitioners today also

have the option to make their own ‘potions’, working with common

herbs and plants in the form of essential oils and aromatherapy.

Whilst this is not for every pregnant person, many find the scents and

particularly the massage aspect extremely useful with gentle touch

techniques helping to alleviate common pregnancy complaints such

as nausea, discomfort and anxiety (Moberg, 2011). Knowledge of

essential oils and their use is particularly valuable when advising and

empowering pregnant people on how to alleviate common symptoms


Not all midwives are trained in this skill and it is not something that

can be used following self-teaching. Therefore, when the University

of Salford’s Midwifery Society arranged the RCM accredited

Aromatherapy in Childbirth course to their members, it was extremely

popular amongst the students.

The course was provided via online

learning due to the current pandemic,

however, it included pre-recorded videos

by an aromatherapist and a midwife.

The course is split into seven modules

and allowed the user to progress through

these sections at their own pace, accounting for the fact many students

were on placement and have other commitments. Additionally, the

online format gave the student the option of revisiting any modules for

consolidation of learning.

There were many elements discussed in the course (six essential

oils: Lavender, Peppermint, Spearmint, Mandarin, Clary Sage and

Frankincense - sorry, no Eye of Newt or Frog’s Breath! - carrier oils

and hydrolats). Each module taught the student about appropriate

uses, contraindications and safety of each oil, in addition to how

much was needed for it to be effective and safe. A task was given

following each module’s teaching, including using lavender in

the bath, self massage and correct labelling of oil blends. To truly

embed knowledge, a quiz also needed to be completed. Practical

skills taught within the course included pressure points, compresses

and massage, all fantastic skills to offer a pregnant person and

allows the practitioner to work holistically within the labour setting.

The final elements of the course were practical assessment using

student’s own video recording sent to the course leaders, and a final

assessed multiple choice exam.

As well as being taught about aromatherapy in childbirth,

the course reinforced other principles of midwifery, pivotal

in providing excellent person-centred care, such as the 6 C’s

(care, compassion, competence, courage, commitment and

communication; NHS England, 2016), as well as two more very

important C’s: choice and consent.

Of course, not every midwife is trained in aromatherapy, as it is not

a core element of midwifery training, and it is not something every

pregnant person will want. Not every midwife possesses the same

skillset and having a variation supports a strong midwifery team.

There is a magical element to using natural resources to potentially

ease a multitude of pregnancy ailments. It is fantastic the current

students have been so keen to enhance their skill set prior to

completing their degrees. The more skills midwives possess, the

greater the chance of providing the best midwifery care possible.

Starting University During

A Pandemic!!

1st year student Shoshona Lewisreflects upon

begining her midwifery journey during a global


Coronavirus, lockdown, pandemic, quarantine and social distancing

were some of the global buzzwords of 2020. In contrast, my confirmed

place at the University of Salford altered my vocabulary to include

words associated with university, remote learning, and of course,

all things midwifery. So, whilst 2020/2021 will be remembered as

the year of the pandemic, I will always remember it as the year I

embarked on my journey to becoming a midwife.

The prospect of starting university can be scary, but starting a three-year

degree in the midst of a pandemic presents a whole new set of challenges.

During our online induction, it was announced that the majority of

teaching in the first semester would be taking place on Collaborate.

Consequently, I faced the reality of attempting to get to know my tutors

and the rest of the cohort, via a videocall. Moreover, I had to learn to

navigate Blackboard quickly, ensuring I didn’t accidentally miss any

lectures or important announcements. Of course, that was not the only

challenge. It became apparent when teaching began at the

end of September that connectivity issues were going to be

an ongoing issue. The sight of a message proclaiming ‘WIFI

issues’ became very familiar during lectures. Admittedly,

my motivation was significantly threatened when my own internet

connection failed. Watching the futile attempts my laptop was making

to reconnect was agonising. Fortunately, every Collaborate lecture was

recorded, so it was easy to catch up when these obstacles arose.

In the absence of a formal routine, consistent social interaction, and

many people self-isolating throughout the first lockdown, it became

evident that looking after our mental health was particularly important.

However, when September arrived I realised I was facing a personal

challenge of my own – loneliness. Initially,

the situation seemed ideal. My parents

were working and my siblings were finally

back in school, I would finally get the

peace and quiet I had started to crave

during the lockdown.





of how


alone I was.

an empty room; in an empty house.

But the reality

of being alone

for most of the day began to take a toll on my

mental health. Although the lectures provided

interaction and stimulation, I was constantly aware

of how physically alone I was. Instead of catching

someone’s eye and supressing a giggle when a joke

was made, I found myself laughing out loud – in

The breakout rooms felt awkward, wondering if the other participants

could actually hear me or if I was literally just talking to myself. Whilst

I’m not the most sociable person, I’ve always preferred talking to people

in person rather than online, but remote learning prevented this.

Unfortunately, the isolation and lack of faceto-face

peer support caused my anxiety to

spiral. I found myself questioning my ability

and understanding of new topics and skills.

Am I ahead or behind everyone else? Am

I the only one who doesn’t know what Left

Occipitoanterior means? Was I the only one

who’d never heard of a sphygmomanometer?

My feelings of loneliness and anxiety mixed together with the pressure

of completing various assignments, including the stressful Inter-

Professional Education project (IPE), left me utterly overwhelmed.

Ironically, it was the somewhat unwelcome IPE project - where we had

to make a poster, together with five other students across the Health

and Society school, featuring “10 top tips for starting university during

a pandemic” - that helped me overcome my personal challenges the

most. Taking responsibility for my group had left me singlehandedly

researching, visualising, and creating the poster. But it was a blessing

in disguise. When looking at various websites to help me think of tips

for my poster, I realised that I was discovering the solution to my own

problems. The most beneficial tools I found included: joining social

media groups. I’d been added to my tutor group’s

WhatsApp group which had already proved to be

a brilliant source of academic and social support,

but I decided to join the Facebook group with the

whole cohort. This helped me feel more included,

and ultimately less alone. In addition, I followed

the advice to participating in group activities,

which allowed me to interact with my peers in a

less formal environment.



me to

feel more

included and


less alone.

Additionally, I made the effort to exercise daily,

which enhanced my mental and physical health. The more I incorporated

these tips and tools into my daily life, the more I felt my mental health

and motivation improve.

One of the highlights of my first semester,

was the opportunity to come into

university and use the simulation suite. In

addition to practising the skills we’d had

the theory for, I was finally able to put faces

to the names (and profile pictures) of my

peers. Overall, these sessions were very

beneficial and boosted my self-confidence.

Especially when I refined and perfected my

technique for the clinical skills. However,

nothing compared to the elation I felt when

I successfully performed these skills on my

first placement.

After 12 weeks of online lectures, my community placement

began in January. I worked with a fantastic team of midwives

and helped to provide care for many lovely women. A much

needed reminder of why I chose midwifery in the first place.

During my placement I was able to widen my experience

and expand my capabilities. I’ve also realised I’d gained some

valuable lessons in resilience and self-motivation that I can

add to my repertoire of skills I will need as a midwife. I believe

that my experiences will enable me to help women overcome

similar feelings of loneliness and isolation they may encounter

throughout the childbearing continuum.



forwards to

the future

Lastly, I appreciate all the effort, support, and

encouragement from the first-year personal

tutors. They have kept us on track, despite

all the challenges we’ve faced throughout the

first semester. I look forward to the future and

hope to continue to learn and grow from every challenge I face.

Carolyn Zitha- 2nd Year Student

Book Review

The Secret Midwife


The Secret Midwife is a first hand account of an NHS midwife and

her experience of working within the pressures of an understaffed,

under funded NHS.

Little did I

know that

2 days later I

would be in a

state of panic

Ironically, I chose this book as a bit of light

hearted, weekend reading, a little treat to myself

after completing an assignment draft. Little did

I know that 2 days later I would be in a state of

panic, questioning my life choices and googling

alternative careers.

The book discusses the many pressures which

midwives working within the NHS face. We all know about the

understaffing, the lack of funding etc. As students we are not

exempt from this and we soon become aware of what to expect

once our placements begin. However, what caused my panic when

reading this book was the author’s experiences of facing court

cases, with a lack of support from senior management and a lack

of accountability for the staffing pressures. Things which students

may not really think about as we are not yet working under our

own pin. I came away fearing that the career I had enthusiastically

embarked upon was akin to entering the lion’s den of court cases,

blame and mistrust. But then, once the initial fear had subsided, I

began to critically think about what I had read.


One thing that I began to think about was accountability. By choosing to remain

anonymous, this author isn’t accountable for what they are saying, it cannot be

contested, challenged or questioned. For me this is problematic, as there are many

accusations, accounts of poor practice and bad management within the book which

may or may not be entirely accurate. We don’t know without the other parties

right to reply. When reading this, or any personal account, it is important that we

remember to remain objective.

But the biggest thing for me and the accountability for this book as the author’s

indignation and viewpoint that they were hauled to court over forgetting to write

the time on a sheet of paper. As a student, this made me terrified. What future did

I have in midwifery if I could be accused of poor care and lose my pin because I

forgot to write a simple thing like a time on a piece of paper? But then I thought

about it. I thought about what it means to be a professional and what it means to

be accountable.

According to the NMC 2018 report, 13% of NMC fitness to practice hearings were

due to poor recording keeping. The author glosses over the issue and implies that

it was tiny, insignificant detail. In actual fact it was a crucial piece of information

that had huge implications. As student midwives it is so

important that we understand the importance of being

accountable for our practice and accurate, detailed

record keeping is certainly something that needs to be

in the forefront of our minds, all the time.

I am glad that I read this book, however, the only reason

for this is that it had made me think about the importance

of accountability and professionalism when working as

a midwife within the NHS. If any students have been

put off studying midwifery by this book or are feeling

frightened about what working within the NHS might

look like then please discuss this with someone. Whilst

In actual

fact it was a

crucial piece

of information

that had huge


there are many truths about the trials and issues or working within the NHS

amongst the words of this book, and many of the stories might have truth within

them, the overwhelming balance of the text is designed to be controversial and

frightening. But without the author taking ownership of these claims, we cannot

and should not read them as factual events at all.

Wellbeing checklist for

Emma Mahon– 3rd year student midwife and co-chair of the


As this edition is focused on mental health, I thought it would

be worthwhile to share some tips for ensuring you have a

restful sleep. These tips work whether you are on a university

block or doing shift work. I have struggled with sleep myself,

so I follow these simple steps: I hope that even one of these

tips helps one of you get a restful night sleep as we all know

how hard it is to work or study the next day if we are feeling


Before I go to work or start my university day, I make sure I make my bed

(my grandma taught me this and it helps when you go back to your room

and its tidy). I also set out my pyjamas on the bed ready for the evening (or

morning if on nights).

To start my night-time routine, I have a shower or a bath, this does not

have to be long, but I feel like I am washing or soaking the day away. Since

doing the Aromatherapy for Childbirth course I like to use essential oils in

my bath to help me relax.

I try and remember to moisturise as working at the hospital makes my

hands dry.

Next, I set my clothes out for the next day, make sure my bag is ready

and prepare my dinner. If all this is done, I find I am not thinking about

whether I have got my uniform out of the washing machine for the next

day at 2am in the morning!

a restful night’s sleep

I aim to set a bedtime routine on my phone, my phone automatically mutes

all notifications, and this helps with not only spending some time away

from social media but the blue light from your phone is stimulating and

can prevent restful sleep.

I aim to set a bedtime routine on my phone, my phone automatically mutes

all notifications, and this helps with not only spending some time away

from social media but the blue light from your phone is stimulating and

can prevent restful sleep.

Herbal tea is next on my list. A calming one with no caffeine such as lavender

or camomile will help you get in the right place for sleep.

Once I am in bed, I try to think about one good thing that happened that

day and write it down either on paper or on your phone. I try and end the

positive comment and how it made me feel. This positive comment can be

anything for example, today I went for a walk and got plenty of fresh air –

this made me feel refreshed.

I dim my light in my bedroom and read a chapter of a book. I am currently

reading ‘Untamed’ By Glennon Doyle.

When I eventually feel my eyes getting heavy, I switch off my light and

hope to get a restful sleep. Roughly eight hours a night is the recommended

amount but if I do wake during the night, I use relaxing music from You


Academic Hints and Tips

By Marie Layne, 3rd Year and MidSoc Secretary

Although this might

sound obvious, it is vital for your

learning that you attend all lectures.

You will need to try to concentrate during

lectures too! Not always an easy task,

especially when working from home but the

online teaching sessions are your primary

source of learning during this course. It is also

beneficial to actively engage with any group

work you are asked to do during online

teaching sessions, sharing knowledge

and ideas within a group is

another way of enhancing

your learning.



It is a good idea to keep your work organised. Figure out a way that works

best for you – this may mean having a separate file for each semester, or

different colour coded files for theory modules and clinical modules. It

is very easy to lose track of where that all-important information is if you

do not have it well organised. Get into the habit of this early if you can –

spending a little time organising your work will make life easier when it

comes to writing assignments.

Organise your work

Time management

There is no denying that this course is intense. You will find

yourself having to study alongside attending clinical placements.

This is challenging, especially when it comes to balancing your

time between placement, completing assignments, and still

making time for yourself and any personal commitments you

have. Think carefully about how you can manage your time; it

is a good idea to use a diary or calendar to plan the times you

will allocate to studying. Set yourself achievable targets – it is

so rewarding to be able to ‘tick off’ your progress as you achieve

these targets. You will need to stay determined to stay on plan,

however, do not be afraid to alter your plans. Time management

is not about writing a timetable at the start of each semester and

sticking to it. It is about constantly re-evaluating and prioritising

what needs to be done and planning your time accordingly.

You will receive

feedback on all your assignments.

Feedback is the lecturers’ way of helping you to

gain even better marks on future assignments. Read

all the comments carefully when you receive feedback, then



read them all again when you are planning your next assignment.

This is a good way to improve your academic writing. Always take

advantage of the opportunity to send in a draft of

any work you are doing. Receiving feedback on a draft can make a world

of difference to your stress levels as you write your assignment, this will

guide your writing and provide some peace of mind that you are on

the right track. Don’t forget to make use of the resources available

from the library to support you with academic writing; there is

lots of really useful information available online from the

library, including referencing guides.

Academic Hints and Tips

By Marie Layne, 3rd Year and MidSoc Secretary


not be afraid to ask any

question you might have. You will have

heard the saying “there’s no such thing as a silly

question” countless times, yet we do not always find it

easy to ask questions for fear of how this comes across. Asking

questions, and having them answered, means that you have

gained some knowledge that you did not previously have – so ask

away! Ask questions of your lecturers, your practice supervisors, the

multidisciplinary team, your peers… basically anyone who might have

some information that you want. It is a good idea to have a pocketsized

notebook with you during clinical placements, you can use

this to jot down any questions you have so that you can ask them

when there is an opportunity. This notebook can be filled

Know your



with information gained during placements and many

midwives have said they found their notebook to

be invaluable even after qualifying.

Organise your work

Ask questions

Identify your learning

style – how you learn best.

Then use this to your advantage

when researching and planning for

assignments as well as preparing revision

notes for exams. For some people, this

means using colour and highlighting written

text, for others it means using diagrams or

charts, while others may prefer to record

information and listen back to it.

There is no right or wrong way,

just work out what works best

for you.

Read, read, read!

Reading is the perfect way to further your knowledge and to

deepen your understanding. You will have to research and

include references for your assignments, so you are already

aware of the need to read. Read more! Students who read

widely tend to gain the best grades. The lecturers can tell if

you have read widely around a topic as it will be reflected

in your writing. Reading can also improve your academic

writing style, as you immerse yourself in the wonderful

world of academic literature you will become familiar with

this sort of writing and will adjust your style towards it.


order to study

effectively, you must take care

of yourself. If you feel at your best you

are more likely to work at your best. During

times when you know you are more likely to feel

the pressure of assignment writing or exam revision,

try to eat well and to stay hydrated. When you can, plan in

some time to treat yourself in a way that suits you. Perhaps

a pampering session, a candle-lit bath or baking a cake. A

walk outdoors can help to clear your head, and ensuring you

get enough sleep will help you perform well as you tackle that

academic work. Bear in mind your end goal - if it all feels tough

or overwhelming at times, take a few minutes to visualise

how you will feel once you achieve your aim. This could be

imagining yourself pressing ‘submit’ on Turnitin when

you finally finish your assignment, or it could mean

imagining how you will feel when you qualify and

pull on that blue uniform for the first time.

Take care of you – you, the future


Self care

Member’s Shout Outs, Stories and



you to the

obstetrician who was

patient in theatre when

the balloon of catheter I was

inserting slid out the urethra,

then giving me the space to

try again, this time placing it

correctly. It supported a great

learning opportunity and

confidence builder

for me

Nicole Rajan- Brown 2nd year student

Thanks to all of

the lovely staff at

RBH M5 ward, who

once again have made me

feel so welcome and one of the

team. I can’t wait to come back as

a third year to complete my

training. You’re all fab.

Thanks Caz x

Hey Amanda,

Just a little thank-you from me...

My journey had just begun,

I was hoping it would be fun!

Worried and anxious, unsure what is to come. I look back now, it's clear that response


quickly given the shun.

far from

The introductions were made, Amanda was her name. I knew straight away she was


First things first let's grab a coffee - Same done! Yes I thought, the lottery I had won!

I was learning from the best, even though she got little rest.

You taught me Sbars, observations, placentas and the rest, even at times when you


extremily stressed.

9 assisted deliveries, often fast and wet, what moments these were, I'll never forget.

Thank-you for being so kind and caring.

Thank-you for showing me the way it's meant to be.

Thanks on behalf of all those ladies you help push through, oh so lucky they are to have


Finally, thank-you for being that mentor, the one that I had only dreamnt for.


Codie Wadsworth- 2nd year student

We need your input. We are looking for pictures, poems, artwork, stories,

shout outs, anything at all, let’s share and celebrate our midwifery journeys

together. Please send these to Ussumidwifery@gmail.com

It’s ok not to be ok

2nd year student Sian Marie Hampton, reflects upon her midwifery

degree so far and reminds us all that strength comes from the journey.

Well, where do I start? I apologise in advance about my writing

and hope it makes sense. The joys that my dyslexia brings when

trying to articulate myself!

I write this at my table; looking at my essay plan and trying my

hardest to work my way through it and prepare for yet another

essay. I’m sat with my mind boggling as always. Constantly

wondering; is this right? Am I portraying my point? Have I

understood what I am to do correctly? Then I realise I’m not

alone, as I notice my WhatsApp groups pinging away. We’re all

in similar situations, trying our best to get through this degree.

We all took this path and worked hard to become a part of it; now

working even harder to fulfil those goals. The further we go, the

ever more determined we become to qualify.

To those who do not know me, I am currently a 2nd year student

midwife who was originally in the 2018 cohort. However, I am now

retaking part of my 2nd year. I am not ashamed or embarrassed to

tell you this. This is not a rare factor. Life in general can be very

chaotic and my last year was certainly unique. There were quite a

few personal dramas going on at home which made learning and

performing academically even harder than I find already. And

then the biggest curveball of all happened - COVID. It well and

truly made things so hard for so many and I had a decision to

make; do I step off, opt in, or opt out? With one failed assessment

already on my mind for the academic year, I made the decision I

thought was best for me - I opted in. I adore clinical placement

and this, I admit, is where I learn best. The online uni was by far

more of a struggle for me. I was home-schooling a 5-year-old and

had a very active 2-year-old at home, I was juggling many balls.

It was not the best of times. As a result, I failed another assessment, but

astoundingly passed my VIVA. I was proud that I passed my clinical

grading, which gave me a confidence boost as it had started to wane; it was

the proof I did know what I was doing. And I truly adore it.

As you can probably surmise, I had to retake part of my 2nd year after

failing 2 assessments and would not be able to progress with those I had

began my path with to 3rd year. I had to wait. So, feeling downbeat and

absolutely devasted, I spoke to my dear friends and I wished my wonderful

cohort of strong women all the best for 3rd year. I know each and everyone

of them will make such a difference to those lives they touch. As for me, I

took time to recharge and prepare myself. I became stronger and things at

home became better; I had moved forward and could see a new, better path

forming. I worked with my support tutor to help improve my academic

skills and took the time to read and carry on with my learning. This was

not what I had planned, but things happen for a reason and I trusted in


Upon my recommencement I started with a new cohort who kindly

welcomed me into their group. And yes, straight away came the essay - the

one thing I dread! But knowing I’m not alone in this makes it easier - we

are all second-guessing our abilities, whether we have a learning disability

or not. We’re all simply trying our best and in these times of COVID.

Online lectures and home schooling it is hard. Whether you have children

or not, this degree is hard and its ok to admit that. At the end of the day,

we never truly know what each student is going through. We all go through

different things in life and should be there to understand and cheerlead for

one another.

So, what I want to share with you all is this - even when it doesn’t

go as planned, its ok. Don’t worry. You’ve got this and you can get

through whatever is thrown in your path. But remember to talk and

share your worries, because you’re not alone. Take time to care for

yourself, you are important. Know how truly amazing you are. And

always, always be kind – we’re all just people trying to do our best

both in normal and Covid times and life is hard. But we’re so much

harder. We’re student midwives.

And to all of you out there, the amazing 3rd years who I started my

journey with; go get them, you strong, amazing women! I know you

can do this.

To my new cohort of 2nd years, hello! We’ve got this and we’ll get

through it, its such a fast journey but we can do it, we’re stronger

than we know.

And to all those 1st years… enjoy this journey, whether it goes to

plan or not. Don’t stress, you’re on this path because it’s what you

wanted to do. So, look after yourself, work hard but always remember

you’re not alone.

As the ever-present saying goes: “ITS OK TO NOT BE OK.” There

is always someone there for you, reaching out that hand to hold.

Take care.

Key Events

27th March Passover start

2nd April

4th April

5th April

13th April

23rd April

5th May

Good Friday

Easter Sunday

Easter Bank Holiday

Ramadan Start

St. George’s Day

International day of the Midwife

13th May

16th May

31st May

Eid ul Fitr


Spring Bank Holiday

7th June Start of semester 3

20th July

Eid ul Adha

10th August Muharram/Islamic New Year

30th August Summer Bank Holiday

Get Involved

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this edition of The Future

Midwife. If you’d like to get involved, we would love

to hear from you. Whether your talent lies in editing,

design, writing reflections, artwork or poetry, get in

touch at ussumidwifery@gmail.com or through our

social media channels.

We’re looking for some passionate students to get

involved in making our wonderful magazine! Want a

commitment that will fit around your placement and

university work.

Expand your CV, and develop skills to include in your


· Editorial assistant

· Design and artwork assistant

· Content administration

Interested? Send us no more than 100 words about

why you’d be perfect for the role and e-mail it to


If you would like to get involved in the Midwifery

Society, you can join on the Salford Student’s Union

Website for just £5 for the year. This semester,

events for members include aromatherapy for childbirth,

yoga, meditation and more!

We look forwards to seeing you soon!

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