Monday, 20 July 2015

Second year is FINISHED! DONE! NO MORE!

The 2nd year of my Midwifery training is officially complete. How on EARTH did I manage that?!

I have recently received my letter from the university, confirming my progression into the third and final year of my studies. My second year will account for 25% of my overall classification, so it is nice to have a small chunk of it out of the way. I am not entirely sure how my grade for this year is calculated, but I have done a few sums and I have achieved either a first or a high 2:1. I’ll take that!

Over the course of the last few weeks I have received around 10 results, all of varying significance. My nerves are shot, however I passed everything- so no resits needed!

The results I feel most proud of, I would say, are for my exams. My cohort sat a written exam which was probably one of the scariest things that I have ever had to do. Students two cohorts ahead retaking the paper with us didn’t help with the panic. This was for our complications course, and any 2 out of 30 possible obstetric emergencies/complications could have featured. What made it scary was that we had to write at least a thousand words on the management of each of the two topics. It was a hefty exam- definitely not one that anyone could blag.

I was hoping for Post Partum Haemorrhage- (as the management has been drilled in to me so much now despite having never managed one following a vaginal delivery), or shoulder dystocia, which I do have experience of in practice. I turned over the page to reveal my questions and the words ‘UTERINE INVERSION’ jumped out at me- I immediately freaked out. I knew the basics- but I didn’t know enough to write 3 pages about it! I was starting to feel all shaky when I told myself to keep it together, and I calmly read the other two questions (we pick two questions out of three to answer). Maternal and Fetal complications following shoulder dystocia- phew. The second question that I answered was the role of the midwife in the care of a woman experiencing a stillbirth. I left the exam feeling a bit uneasy, but secretly confident. When I learnt that I had not only passed- but passed well, I was ecstatic.

My second exam was the dreaded OSCE. This is a practical exam; again, centred on the management of obstetric emergencies. Whilst this particular format of examination is daunting- the topics were narrowed down to 5, which helped a great deal with revision. The possible scenarios included Cord Prolapse, Post Partum Haemorrhage, Vaginal Breech Delivery (not necessarily an emergency but OK), Shoulder Dystocia and Occipito-Posterior Birth (again, certainly not a stand-alone emergency).

For the entire month of June, my PROMPT (Practical Obstetric Multi-Professional Training) manual went with me wherever I went. Evening in? Prompt. 5 minute tea break on labour ward? Prompt. Bathroom? Prompt prompt prompt. With the help of the PROMPT manual I memorised and felt confident with 4/5 emergencies. However; malpresention (Occipito-posterior) doesn’t really have a set management protocol, so I REALLY didn’t want that one coming up. I’ve delivered OP babies before- many a time in fact, I just didn’t quite understand how I would structure an entire OSCE exam around it.

To my huge relief, the scenario I picked out of the hat was shoulder dystocia! I had learnt so much about this, I could feel myself going bright red with joy. I had safely facilitated the birth of the dummy baby and quoted additional evidence and medical definitions when the clock struck 13 minutes- with seven minutes to spare! I achieved a high first for that OSCE which I am over the moon about.

The results for my numerous essays were varied to say the least. I achieved both my highest ever mark and my lowest. That’s second year for you- a complete rollercoaster! I was disappointed when I received my lowest grade, however it was still a pass and I have made a point of taking on the feedback I received. Hopefully my academic writing will improve during my final year- although it will have to- it’s dissertation time!

I have a number of ideas in my head for my literature review, at the moment I am leaning towards breech birth outcomes. (Watch this space!)

For now, I can relax with second year as just a memory. The feeling of relief is immense, especially as I now have no more exams to undertake for the remainder of my degree. The OSCE had been looming over me since day one of my training- I have always felt like if I could pass that, I could truly make it and achieve my goal of becoming a registered midwife.

Now for the final chapter of my midwifery education, year 3!

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