As the UK summer starts to fade, many of our midwifery students are either beginning their studies or moving up a year, so it’s time to update my post for students … a summary of the different ways in which my website, blog and heart-funded birth information project can help those of you who are studying midwifery or birth-related areas, whether as undergraduates, apprentices or post-qualification.
Having been a midwife (mostly independent, but not exclusively) for more than twenty-five years, my goal now is to help those who help women, babies and families. So here are ten ways in which my work might be able to help you in yours.
1. The Search Box
My website contains more than 500 articles, blog posts and information pages, and you might find it useful to bookmark this site and use the search box when you’re looking for information for your essays and assignments. It’s in the top right hand corner of every page on my site.
2. Articles and Books
I’ve written lots of articles over the years, and about 90% of the articles that I have ever written can be found on my articles page. If you’re looking for an article that isn’t up there, then the chances are that either I don’t have permission to post it, or I consider it too out-of-date to keep on here. Often, if the latter is the case, I’ll have written something more recent, so it’s worth going back to #1 and doing a search. And when you need more depth, I have written books on all sorts of practice-related topics that you’ll need to know about, including Inducing Labour, Group B Strep Explained, Vitamin K and the Newborn and Birthing Your Placenta. Many students and aspiring students have also found What’s Right For Me? making decisions in pregnancy and childbirth really useful in helping them understand issues relating to decision-making as well as being a good overview of the different belief systems that exist within maternity care.
3. My love letter to student midwives
One of the most popular blog posts on this website was written for student midwives. I wrote it partly because I don’t have time to answer every individual email that I receive, but I wanted to find a way to respond to the lovely students who needed some kind words. You might like to save it for when you’re not having a great day. Here it is: Eight things I’d like to share with midwifery students who care
4. Instructions on using a Pinard
One of the most basic things you’ll need to learn is how to use a Pinard. Here’s a two-part article on that very topic, with tips from experienced midwives, and part two is here.
5. Regular birth-related research updates
As well as my paid work (speaking, teaching, writing and consultancy), I run a heart-funded birth information project, and I regularly share research updates on my blog, via social media. So you can, if you like, like and follow my page to get updates on facebook, follow my adventures (and those of our somewhat uncouth cat, Mittens) on Instagram, and/or follow my feed on twitter (I don’t go on there personally; it’s just a feed) But whether or not you do any of those, signing up to my newsletter is definitely the best way of getting my updates, because we can then send our Birth Information Update newsletters to your email inbox without you having to think about it – always a good plan when you’ve got so much to do! And if you like what I do and would like to help me keep it going, you can get some cool midwife stuff here – all the profits help keep the free stuff online 🙂
6. Tons of dissertation tips (well, at least 101!)
If you ever feel uncertain about how you’re supposed to get going with academic work, or wonder how you can get better at fitting it all in, then I’ve written a book just for you! It’s called ‘101 tips for planning, writing and surviving your dissertation‘. It’s not just for your dissertation though … many people recommend it to students in their first or second year or even before they begin their studies, because a lot of the tips can be used for other assignments way before you get to the stage of writing your dissertation or undergraduate project. (And it’s not midwifery-specific, so it works for people studying other subjects too!) If you’d like to read some of the tips to get a flavour of the book, check out this page which tells you all about it and (if you scroll down) links to some of the tips that I posted on my blog before the book was published.
7. Light relief
When you’ve had enough randomised controlled trials to last you for the rest of the semester, I’ve got some light-hearted stuff to help you recharge your batteries. You might like try some of the 15 ways I’ve found to knit a uterus, read my article about birth fairies or procrastinate by searching my website for the kitties belonging to well-known midwives and birth folk who sometimes decorate my blog posts. (That link takes you to just one example … there are more to find!)
8. Tips for finding articles
A fairly recent and already very popular post is one I wrote in response to people who were feeling frustrated when they couldn’t find articles that they were looking for. If you’re at a university or school which offers you library access, you might not need this, but if you get stuck, or for those who aren’t as blessed in the reference department, here are Nine tips for accessing academic papers online.
9. Fabulous educational opportunities
OK, I know that students’ financial situations vary widely and that some aren’t always able to do lots of extra-curricular stuff, but once you’re able to invest in your education outside of your midwifery programme as well as in it, then I’d like to think that I offer some pretty cool opportunities, including engaging online courses where you can connect with me and other midwives and birth folk from around the world (and all from the comfort of your computer, tablet or phone!) and all kinds of in-person conferences, talks and workshops. I keep these pages updated, and I always give my newsletter folks an early heads-up of my own courses (mainly because some of them sell out really quickly once they go onto social media) so if you’d like to get those free newsletters and updates and haven’t yet signed up, here’s the page that you need.
10. And reminders of what’s important
Many people go into midwifery because they care deeply about women and their experiences. Sadly, that isn’t always reflected in the reality of working in systems of care, as my loveletter to student midwives implies. If you need an antidote to all that stuff, then I try to offer it here, and a few examples include my blog post about watching the purple line, quotes about what’s important and lots of outside-the-box thinking. And finally, because I think it’s really, really important, I’ll remind you a lot about self-care!
So don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter and let me keep you updated straight into your inbox while you worry about everything else!
Here’s wishing you all the best on your journey – wherever you may be – and I really hope that my work can help you in yours.