‘Every birth is special’ – ‘Catching’ 40 babies as a Student Midwife

Emily Jackson, 22

Student Midwives undertake a long list of requirements in order to meet the NMC requirements to qualify as a midwife. This includes 100 antenatal and postnatal appointments, witnessing several normal births, caring for women at risk and new-born baby checks and, arguably the most well-known, to personally “catch” forty babies.

Blackpool Teachings Hospitals supports 45 new Student Midwives every year through their studies. Typically, a student course lasts three years but cannot be completed until a student has caught 40 babies. Mixed with placements and tutored time a midwifery course is equally challenging and rewarding. Each year more than 2,000 students qualify nationwide.

Emily Jackson, 22, recently added to those numbers after catching her 40th baby on 8 July, at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals.

Emily along with one of her assessor, Denise Leach, shared her highs and lows and described what it meant to her, catching her final baby as a student.

“From a young age I was always involved in volunteering and knew my future career would involve caring for people. After finishing school, I enrolled into a one-year Health and Social Care Course before carefully researching and considering a route into midwifery.

“What I enjoy most about midwifery training over other nursing roles is I get to support a mum through sometimes her whole journey, I’ve already seen one mum for her first and second birth which was really special. You get invested in their stories.

“I still remember my first day stepping onto the ward together with another student nurse and it was every emotion that you could imagine, overwhelmed… anxious about the journey ahead but also excited and eager to learn. In the first few days and weeks at the Trust I was comparing my experience to that of my friends who had been placed at other hospitals. Now I’m hugely grateful to have been placed at Blackpool.

“Blackpool really is like family and from a professional point of view, a challenging area with unique cases. Every birth is special and looking back over my last three years as a student it was getting to witness a rare vaginal breech during my first year that would be a personal highlight, even for qualified nurses it isn’t something that happens very often.

“In contrast with highs there are also lows and more than once I found myself in the ‘wobble room’ where we let it all out to go fresh faced to our next expecting mum to be. I wouldn’t change a moment of this and look forward to starting my career at Blackpool Teachings Hospitals as a qualified midwife.”

Denise Leach, Practise education facilitator and Emily Jackson

Denise Leach, Practise education facilitator commented “Students are our future colleagues, we want to make them competent and safe. It is part of our role to help students develop into safe and competent qualified midwives to mould them into a midwife we would be happy to work alongside, especially in those more difficult moments. It’s a pleasure to see their journey, as nervous first years to catching their final 40th baby in year three.

My advice to anyone looking into becoming a midwife, either from school or as a practising nurse is to research what it means to be a midwife, the good, bad and ugly because all will play a part in your journey. I was a nurse and took a short course to become a midwife. Now I support students like Emily, and I couldn’t be prouder of the midwife she has become.”

Emily recently started her first days as a qualified midwife with the team and has enjoyed wearing her new blue uniform.

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