Friday, 24 April 2015

Sexual Health

I am very pleased to say that I am feeling much less stressed than I was when I wrote my last post!

The sun has come out, and Greenwich is looking absolutely beautiful with all the blossom trees blooming. I was at a wedding last weekend which was so much fun, and my student loan is finally in- it feels good to no longer be a pauper.

I am currently on my Sexual Health placement which I am LOVING. It is unbelievably interesting. I have been working with the nurses and doctors in a sexual health clinic. The team are all so friendly and they’ve taught me so much (and they give me cake which is always a bonus). I’ve witnessed check-ups, STI screens, counselling and treatment. I’m sure that this isn’t for everyone, but I love being in the lab looking at the specimens under a microscope! I now know how to find candida albicans (thrush) from a sample- lovely!

What I have found the most challenging is sitting in with the nurse as they take a history- especially with the men as I’m sure you can imagine, it’s all a bit awkward. We have to ask some really, really personal questions so I’ve found myself trying my hardest not to blush! In order to witness these appointments I do need the patients’ permission first, which I was worried about as I thought no one would want me looking at their bits! But I found that as long as I introduced myself and struck up conversation quickly they didn’t have a problem. It’s important to let them know that all information they disclose is confidential and that we aren’t judging. A few of the men have questioned why me, a student midwife, is there. I try to make a joke out of it and explain that I need an understanding of both sides- as they are involved in the baby making too!

My week hasn’t all been light-hearted banter and precautionary check-ups. I had a really interesting discussion with a clinical psychologist, who cares for people with HIV. It made me realise how far we have advanced in medicine in recent years. Years ago, HIV was seen as a death sentence; however now, for many people diagnosed, their condition is managed with medication. The psycho-social aspects of contracting HIV are so complex, and the psychologist kindly took me through how she breaks ‘the news’ to those with a positive result, and the various care pathways and services that are then offered.

I am surprised at how hands on this placement was for me- where I thought it would be mainly observational, I have still been given the chance to develop my skills in venepuncture and speculum examinations which is great!

This week has been so enjoyable that I am seriously considering specialising in sexual health after I qualify. The university offers a post-graduate certificate in sexual health, so watch this space! 

Monday, 13 April 2015

I take back what I said...

I take back what I said. 2nd year is HORRID. I think that the first semester lulled me into a false
sense of security, as I didn’t find it as challenging as I had expected. However now that I am well and truly in semester 4, I’m so stressed I’m getting regular nose bleeds!

What I have found with this course is that everything can seem plain sailing, you’re working hard, getting good grades, you think to yourself ‘Wow! This isn’t as hard as they say!’ and then bam, something happens and everything feels a bit out of control.

My Nan passed away a few weeks ago, and it’s been a hard blow. Instead of picking myself up after a nasty night shift, I will find myself in tears, again, on the bus back home. During the final moments of a birth I was facilitating, the parents decided to play a hymn on their phone, which happened to be the single song we sung at my Nan’s funeral. That hurt a lot. You come across such raw emotion every day in midwifery, and if you feel the slightest bit vulnerable it can leave you in pieces.

I remember being so desperate to get into Midwifery that I swore to myself I would never complain about it if I ever got in, so the last thing I want to do is be negative. I am still so thankful to be here and I am determined as ever to reach my full potential. Three essays, two exams and placement to pass- the prospect sounds incredibly daunting, but the fact it will be behind me in 2 months is so comforting!

I guess what I am trying to say is that if I can get to the summer, I am sure I can do it. It’s my final week on labour ward for the year, so I really really REALLY hope that I get more deliveries as I feel like 2nd year has been a bit of a ‘dry spell’ for me.

But- swings and roundabouts, although my deliveries have slowed a bit this year, my clinical skills including vaginal examinations are really improving, and it is those skills that I will carry with me through my career.

So all in all I’m getting there! It’s been such a struggle but I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’ll be super happy once I’ve finished my research essay tomorrow. One hurdle at a time!