If you're thinking about becoming a midwife, you might be wondering how to choose a midwifery course. Choosing midwifery courses can be a bit confusing for prospective midwives. Work through these 5 FAQs to see if you've got enough information to make a good decision.
1. Why am I having trouble choosing between midwifery courses?
When you're looking at midwifery courses, you'll notice they aren't that different. This is because they are regulated.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council make sure all the midwifery courses in the UK produce competent midwives. They are all 3 year, full-time degree courses. All will include early morning, late afternoon, and night shifts, and often courses need you to be flexible and do on calls. They will usually have 60% practical and 40% theory course content, and similar course material.
This is good news if you only have one university you can go for because you can't move out of the area. All universities should produce good midwives. But for people with the luxury of choice, it can be a bit confusing.
2. What kind of midwife do I want to be?
When researching midwifery courses, ask about home birth rates, small birth centres in the area, hospitals that look after women with really complicated medical problems, and so on. If you're interested in working with vulnerable women or lower socio-economic backgrounds, you might want to be in the middle of London or a big city.
If you want to have lots of low-risk experience, look at 'know your midwife' schemes, water birth rates, and midwife led birth units.
You may also want to be in placement within a few weeks of starting - which Oxford Brookes University provides.
Or you might want to know about the low risk care options, and good midwifery led units, which De Montfort University offers. I'm a De Montfort girl, and I adored doing some training at St Mary's Birth Centre.
I remember cold winter's nights when it was snowing being in a pool room waiting for a lady to birth, snuggled up against the warm piping doing documentation. Midwifery Bliss.
3. It is important to think about where in the country midwifery courses are?
You need to choose somewhere you will be happy training. It might sound like the least important thing to research when you're looking to train as a midwife. But your life/work balance while doing a midwifery course is critical to your success.
Would you like to be in Plymouth, so you can surf? Or Bristol because you want to rock climb at Cheddar Gorge? Or are you into theatre and clubs, so you'd love London?
Having good reasons for choosing an area of the country will also give you something to talk about at your interview. The interviewers are more likely to choose you if you can justify your choice of university.
4. What are employment rates like for graduates from different midwifery courses?
Employment rates for new midwives differ depending on where in the country you are. This is not because some universities make better graduates and some make worse. It's because there is different demand for midwives in different areas of the UK.
In the midlands, and especially London, there is always a need for midwives. People move around more. In Scotland, and some places on the coast of the UK, it can be very difficult for a new graduate to get a job as midwives tend to stay put. But in the places where midwives don't move around much, they sometimes have better job satisfaction.
Will you want a job where you trained straight after graduating? Or would you be happy to move to somewhere new for a job?
5. How much support will I need?
Think really hard about whether you need to be close to family and friends. Sometimes you'll just want a hug and a cup of tea. It's exhausting.
Some people really benefit from being able to drive home for the weekend. Others want to be based at home. Others are perfectly happy phoning for support if needed. Think about it before you start applying.
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!