I grew up in a family of four girls. My parents were Officers in the Navy, and this was the career path I chose for myself whilst in the cloud of the HSC, perhaps because it felt familiar and safe. The application process was rigorous and lengthy. Unfortunately, a week after completing my HSC exams, I was notified that I had not received an offer for the Navy. This sent me into a spin of ‘what do I do now?’.
Midwifery had always been in the back of my mind. I’ve always been fascinated by pregnancy and birth, in awe of women’s bodies. My Mum also trained as a Doula, and I would read her textbooks in my spare time. Although painful at the time, being rejected by the Navy opened my eyes to the possibility of being a midwife – and it was a genuine lightbulb moment.
I wasn’t able to get in on my first go (or second, or third) – I applied for the Bachelor of Midwifery three years in a row, and was heartbroken each time I didn’t receive an offer. However, I got into the Bachelor of Nursing every year. At first, I was hesitant to begin a degree that wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, but I eventually realised that, if I wanted to do Midwifery, I would have to start with Nursing.
I completed a year in the Bachelor of Nursing and then transferred into the Bachelor of Midwifery. I worked hard to achieve High Distinctions during this year, knowing it was my last chance. To prospective students who are worried about getting into Midwifery due to the high entrance ATAR, know that a year of Nursing will serve you well. The skills that you learn are so valuable, plus you already have your uniform, you’re familiar with the campus and it is possible to get credit recognition for the anatomy and physiology subjects. I’m definitely an advocate for this pathway.
Now in my final year, I feel overwhelmed – with so many skills still to master. However, I’m confident in my ability to communicate empathy and make women in my care feel comfortable. This skill is invaluable in a career that depends on building trust, providing education and caring for women through vulnerable times. The clinical skills will come with time and practice, it may be years until I master them, but at least I’ve got the building blocks.
I’ve found that the course structure of the Bachelor of Midwifery at UTS is unique. The cohorts can be quite small, so all the tutors know your name and you know theirs – you’re not just a number. You build rapport with your tutors and your peers and you feel appreciated; there’s a great sense of community.
Being a midwife makes me feel valuable; the feeling of being involved in such a significant time is so rewarding. Oh the tears, so many tears of joy, or exhaustion, or frustration. There are so many beautiful moments of value through pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. You are truly making a difference; whether it’s quietly whispering to a woman, “you can do this, I know you can”, providing antenatal education in a way that the woman understands, or taking an extra moment to help a woman struggling to breastfeed. Taking the time to listen and connect is so important.
My advice to future students is simple: just do the things. For example, I like to plan, because it makes me feel organised but I will spend hours planning and won’t end up achieving any of the things I planned! Instead, plan for a few minutes and then just start.
This degree can be stressful, as you often have to juggle placement, university, course work, assessments and employment. Although I feel busy constantly, I ensure I’m giving each commitment the time it needs and deserves. It’s important to acknowledge when you can’t keep on top of things without feeling like you are drowning, and slow down.
Find out more about the Bachelor of Midwifery at UTS.