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Lots of questions about becoming / being a midwife


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#1 BubbleBird

Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:57 AM

Hello,

For a long long time I have wanted to become a midwife and have looked into the course (would like to study bachelor of mid at ACU in Melbourne) lots of times. The time has never been right, and still isn't really, but I think I want to at least start getting more serious about applying.

I have NO idea about working in a hospital setting so a lot of my apprehension comes from the unknown of shift work / long shifts, that sort of thing. I think I have a heap of passion for this work but just not sure if it will be enough IYKWIM. At this point I see myself working in a hospital in the delivery suite or post natal ward.

I just have so many questions though. I'm hoping there are some students / midwives out there that might be able to answer a few for me.

So here they are:

- how many contact hours do you / did you have at uni a week?
- at what point do you start doing prac work in hospitals and how does this work?
- once working as a midwife what is the pay like? I know it is all based on experience.
- how do rosters work? do you work the same days and times each week or does it change? is it easy or hard to change shifts around if needed?
- is it difficult to work part time?
- how often do you have to do night shift / weekend shift?
- how often do you have to work on christmas eve / christmas day and other special holidays?
- how do you cope with the sad stuff?
- I have pretty good family support and child minding so how family friendly is midwifery in your opinion?
- In my early 30s, am I too old to be considering this?
- are there any sites, books or organisation I can get good info from?

Thanks in advance  original.gif

#2 Academic

Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:23 PM

No personal experience here so the only one of your questions I can answer is:

- In my early 30s, am I too old to be considering this?

My mum went to uni and became a midwife in her mid 50s, so no, you're definitely not too old! biggrin.gif

#3 lucky 2

Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:29 PM

Hi BubbleBird,

I have moved your topic to the Studying and Parenting forum as it is likely to be a better fit.
I have left a link in this forum and I hope you get some helpful feedback.

Kind regards,

lucky 2
Moderator of the Doula and Midwife forum

#4 BubbleBird

Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:51 PM

Wow Academic, thanks for that. I now don't feel too old at all  original.gif

Thanks lucky 2

#5 MoonPie

Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:06 PM

Hi Bubblebird, my experience will be a little different to yours, as I was a registered nurse before deciding to do postgrad mid. It's a 12 month course (although in WA its now being rolled out as an 18 month course. I have just finished my final exam and gotten my 20th birth, so I'm nearly at the end of my course and ready to register. My answers will be a little different to others because I didn't do the undergrad course, but here goes anyway.

- how many contact hours do you / did you have at uni a week?
At uni one full day a week
- at what point do you start doing prac work in hospitals and how does this work?
I had to secure employment at a maternity ward as part of being accepted for the uni course. I'm at work 4 shifts a week, as well as the uni one day a week. I stay in the same hospital for the whole course.
- once working as a midwife what is the pay like? I know it is all based on experience. Paid the same as an entry level RN I believe, level 1.2. For me this is about $27/hr, plus penalties.

- how do rosters work? do you work the same days and times each week or does it change? is it easy or hard to change shifts around if needed?
We have a roster request system which usually means I get the shifts that I'm after. I don't pick all weekday mornings or all Sunday nights though (the valuable shifts.) I try and do what works with DD/daycare/school etc. There's also quite a few people willing to swap shifts, once the rosters out. Being a student though, I have to make sure I'm not leaving the ward short of experienced staff if I swap to a shift, so it takes a bit of planning.

- how often do you have to do night shift / weekend shift? Night shift only every few months, although I really don't mind it. Weekends, probably once every fortnight at least one weekend day.

- how often do you have to work on christmas eve / christmas day and other special holidays?
Our christmas roster has just been done, there was a big spreadsheet for people to volunteer to work christmas and new years shifts as worked for them and the gaps were filled in as needed.
- how do you cope with the sad stuff? Very supportive workplace and plenty of opportunites to debrief.
- I have pretty good family support and child minding so how family friendly is midwifery in your opinion? Very, once qualified. Its been such a hard slog this year though.
- In my early 30s, am I too old to be considering this? No!
- are there any sites, books or organisation I can get good info from? Just read all the birth stories, forums etc you can get your hands on original.gif

Hope some of that helped. Good luck!


#6 Eirlys

Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:55 PM

There are also scholarships out there to help people study to become midwives.  You should checkout the Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship and Support Scheme: Undergraduate. The website is NAHSSS: Undergraduate.

I think they are closed for next year study but be open in 2013 for study in 2014.

Edited by Eirlys, 16 November 2012 - 01:57 PM.


#7 BubbleBird

Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:36 PM

Thanks so much to all those who have responded so far. Would love to hear from others  original.gif

#8 hitchicken

Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:44 PM

Watching this thread with interest, as I have just applied for a Bachelor of Midwifery. I sat my STAT exam on Wednesday, fingers crossed now original.gif

I'm quite curious about how the allocation of your work is decided - as in, how is it determined which ward you work in, how long for etc. Do you get much say in that sort of thing?

Also - everyone says that there is a massive demand for midwives, but is that really true? Is it really going to be 'doable' to get a job on graduation? original.gif

(Sorry for the hijack, OP - hope my questions are ok!)

#9 Noah's mum

Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:18 PM

I'm also watching this thread, I'm currently doing a bridging course at uni. The marks I need to get into the bachelor of midwifery are very high, I'm not feeling confident at all and I'm now wondering how I'm going to get to where I want to be.

Sorry I don't have answers , good luck OP :-)

#10 crazyforkids

Posted 17 November 2012 - 10:51 AM

i have decided to do 3yrs nursing and 1 year midwifery. when looking a bach of midwifery i found it to full on to do fullltime and have my kids. i have 5kids.
so i start my nursing course next year which is far more family friendly for me. i will be going 3 days a week. i have 3 kids at school and im currently looking at a nanny for my other 2 because they are more flexible for when i have to do pracs.
i will be 30 when i start my course. i dont believe anyone is to old to be a midwife. you just have to have the passion for it. original.gif
Im going to UC they record visually and voice all there lectures and tuts so if you miss a day it will be all online. thats really good for when you have sick kids and something important is on.
i know the midwifery side of study is more full on as you have to have the women to attend births. but for me my kids will be at school when i get to that stage.
shift work will be interesting but for me its not about money or hours or holidays its about being able to help bring a miricle into the world and sharing such a massive blessing with new parents. i have done it 5 times myself. there will be lows and i dont know how i will cope with that but im sure there will be plenty of people around that will help me through it.

good luck maing your decision. Its an amazing job.

#11 lerato

Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:00 PM

QUOTE (BubbleBird @ 16/11/2012, 11:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello,

For a long long time I have wanted to become a midwife and have looked into the course (would like to study bachelor of mid at ACU in Melbourne) lots of times. The time has never been right, and still isn't really, but I think I want to at least start getting more serious about applying.

I have NO idea about working in a hospital setting so a lot of my apprehension comes from the unknown of shift work / long shifts, that sort of thing. I think I have a heap of passion for this work but just not sure if it will be enough IYKWIM. At this point I see myself working in a hospital in the delivery suite or post natal ward.

I just have so many questions though. I'm hoping there are some students / midwives out there that might be able to answer a few for me.

So here they are:

- how many contact hours do you / did you have at uni a week? I am currently a 2nd Year Midwifery student at UQ.
Our course is slightly different, but our lectures are on one day a week, from first semester of first year, we had 2 hospital shifts a week, and then we had another teaching/clinical skill day.

- at what point do you start doing prac work in hospitals and how does this work?
As above, we started first semester of first year. We rotate in all the different areas in the Mothers Hospital and in the first and 2nd years are only rostered on for early and evening shifts. 3rd year, it is 4-5 hospital shifst a week, but again UQ's course is slightly different.

- once working as a midwife what is the pay like? I know it is all based on experience.
From what I've been told as a graduate it's about $50,000

- how do rosters work? do you work the same days and times each week or does it change? is it easy or hard to change shifts around if needed?
Our roster for our hospital shifts change around, but you get the semesters roster before semester starts. I find it helpful because I've been able to learn what works well for my family. If need be I can change rosters as long as I let people know .

- is it difficult to work part time?
I am studying fulltime and have a part time night shift job at the hospital as a baby care assistant (I'm also a single mum, with great family support)

- how often do you have to do night shift / weekend shift? It varies

- how often do you have to work on christmas eve / christmas day and other special holidays? whenever my shift falls on that day. I am working Christmas night this year.

- how do you cope with the sad stuff?  You deal with it because it's part of the role of midwife. You just need to make sure you have people around you (collegaues and friends) who can be a sounding board. Dont be scared of the sad stuff, the more you learn how to support women and their families, the better a midwife it will make you.
- I have pretty good family support and child minding so how family friendly is midwifery in your opinion? Very
- In my early 30s, am I too old to be considering this? No way - I will be 37 when I graduate original.gif
- are there any sites, books or organisation I can get good info from? Australian College of Midwives.

Thanks in advance  original.gif



Feel free to PM me if you want anymore info!

#12 RHJ

Posted 18 November 2012 - 03:46 PM

I will start with saying I did my degree at Monash- and the course is no longer being offered as MID only- they are only offering the double, but it would be similar with other uni's probably.

- how many contact hours do you / did you have at uni a week?
Depends on the year. Mostly though I would say we were full time. Either on campus or doing prac shifts. First year we were mostly on campus by 3rd year we were mostly on prac. But most days we were doing something.

- at what point do you start doing prac work in hospitals and how does this work?
For us we had a 2 week block in first year, and then 2 days every week in the mid wards from 2nd year on. But I think we are the only Uni in Vic who offered this. We also did block placements. Block placements for us were 2 full time blocks- usually mon-friday either AM or PM shifts (7-3.30 or 2.30-9.30)

- once working as a midwife what is the pay like? I know it is all based on experience.
Not sure about this myself yet! lol. I have a grad year for next year but no idea yet how much I will be paid. I don't care really- I love the job and am just happy to be being paid to do what I love.


- how do rosters work? do you work the same days and times each week or does it change? is it easy or hard to change shifts around if needed?
As a student- you usually have to self organise swaps if you have to. Otherwise they are pretty set. Although it depends on the hospital. The hospital I was placed at this year was incredibly flexible biggrin.gif

- is it difficult to work part time? I don't believe so. Especially doing bank shifts.

- how often do you have to do night shift / weekend shift?
Depends on the hospital and what role you are doing.

- how often do you have to work on christmas eve / christmas day and other special holidays?
I am expecting as a jr staff member I will be doing these for a few years. Someone has to.

- how do you cope with the sad stuff? As a student I have had quite a bit of exposure to this. For me, It has changed my thinking a lot. And is now an area I would really be interested in working in. I could see myself putting my hand up to care for someone who has lost their baby. It is very rewarding to know that although this family is going through hell- you may be making it just that touch easier. It is tough, but it is also a part of life, and anything we can do to help these families is important. Then at the end of the shift- have a chat with someone trusted, get it out, and go home and cuddle your children and be thankful you have them.

- I have pretty good family support and child minding so how family friendly is midwifery in your opinion?
Studying (I can't comment on the rest yet) it is hard but with good support you will be absolutely fine. I did it with 3 kids- who were 1.5, 3.5 and 5.5 when I started.

- In my early 30s, am I too old to be considering this?
Are you calling me old? LOL... I started at 30, and I certainly wasn't the oldest in my course. Not too old at all! I would say probably close to middle of the bunch.

- are there any sites, books or organisation I can get good info from?
ACM I guess is the main one- but you won't find out a huge amount from that. Talking with midwives is the best way to get info I believe.

My recommendation is just apply and see what happens! It is very competitive to get in so just do it!!! you won't regret just giving it a go! It is the best thing I have done for myself.
Feel free to PM me if you (or anyone else) has questions.

Edited by RHJ, 18 November 2012 - 03:48 PM.


#13 RHJ

Posted 18 November 2012 - 03:58 PM

QUOTE (hitchicken @ 16/11/2012, 08:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Watching this thread with interest, as I have just applied for a Bachelor of Midwifery. I sat my STAT exam on Wednesday, fingers crossed now original.gif

I'm quite curious about how the allocation of your work is decided - as in, how is it determined which ward you work in, how long for etc. Do you get much say in that sort of thing?

Also - everyone says that there is a massive demand for midwives, but is that really true? Is it really going to be 'doable' to get a job on graduation? original.gif

(Sorry for the hijack, OP - hope my questions are ok!)


Not exactly sure about your first question- but the hospital tends to allocate where you are working for each shift. You need experience in all areas, as much as most of us just love working in birth suite!  and overall it makes you a better midwife understanding all the areas. The uni tends to find you your placement and then the educators at the hospital set the rosters. Some hospitals let you put in requests for certain shifts, but it isn't common as a student.
Once completed- Not sure how exactly- it depends on the hospital and the type of services they run etc.


As for jobs- Once you are FULLY qualified and have experience (ie a graduate year) I believe that getting a job is usually relatively easy. However getting a grad year is quite difficult in some states at the moment. I am in Victoria and only half of my fellow graduating midwifery students have graduate jobs for next year. And of that, 2 are moving interstate to get them! It was the same the year before. but the year before that there were no issues I believe. I think QLD is in a similar situation this year.
It depends on your flexibility a bit too. If you are willing to go rural for a year or permanently then you may have more luck. Who knows what the situation will be like in 3 years. When I started the course there were no issues whatsoever with getting a job for the new graduates.

#14 Golden_Sunlight

Posted 18 November 2012 - 04:56 PM

I have just finished my degree at ACU in Melbourne this year, so hopefully this information helps you. Every year they adjust the course so it will probably be different slightly once you apply, but the majority will be relevant to you.

- how many contact hours do you / did you have at uni a week?
First year I was there 4 days per week, 8-3 or 4 pm with gaps in between. Each semester there is less contact time as units become online or just have less lectures etc. By third year I had one contact hour per week as 3/4 units were online and classes only ran for 3 weeks before we started placement!

- at what point do you start doing prac work in hospitals and how does this work?
Semester 2 first year you begin placement, which is a 4 week block full time (may include weekends but not usually, and never nights in first year as far as I know). Or is approx 2 shifts per week for 10 weeks, known as 'flexi placement', which only certain hospitals offer like Mercy in Heidelberg. First year, it would most likely be on the postnatal ward or antenatal clinic in a hospital reasonably close to your home, as long as you don't live out in the middle of nowhere! It could be anytime from October to December (but finishes before xmas day). Second year you start doing birth suite, and I think they have swapped special care placement to third year from 2013 onwards. All placements should match up with the new clinical skills you have learnt in class to make sure you get the most out of each experience, eg. taking care of sick babies matches up with the special care placement.

The uni allocates you to the hospital, and you get several weeks notice, although the rosters may be sorted out on the day. A group of you go together and do either morning or afternoon shifts (2-8 people usually) with clinical educators to help you and debrief and troubleshoot any issues you have, although you are buddied up with and work primarily with the hospital's midwives. After first year, you go for 4 weeks every semester for 160 hours, and are given certain books with skills and a particular numbers of births etc to sign off per clinical block or all up at the end of the degree. I don't know the particulars of this though as the books and requirements have changed for the girls in the years below me, but if you'd like to know my experiences I can share as I'm sure it is still similar.

- once working as a midwife what is the pay like? I know it is all based on experience.
According to what I'll be getting and what I've heard from other girls, in VIC the average seems to be around the $25/hr mark, as a baseline without penalties added for nights etc.

- how do rosters work? do you work the same days and times each week or does it change? is it easy or hard to change shifts around if needed?
Rosters usually change, not many midwives have permanent shifts or times unless they have special roles, like lactation consultant, domicilliary midwife or antenatal clinic. You can definitely request days off and they can accommodate that within reason (can't take every weekend off for example), and if you work with nice people they would be happy to swap with you if you reciprocate when they need time off too!

- is it difficult to work part time?
Not at all! After you do the grad year, which really does need to be 8 shifts per fortnight at least (10 per fortnight is full time) to consolidate your learning, you can drop down to however many you and the hospital negotiate for. Most of the midwives I've worked with only work 0.8EFT as they find it tiring to work more than that.

- how often do you have to do night shift / weekend shift?
Depends on the hospital. I've found when speaking to the midwives during my placements, for some it is 1 week out of every month, others do a block of 4-6 weeks for the year and that's it, others spread 8 weeks worth out during the whole year. But you would have to do it eventually, yes.

- how often do you have to work on christmas eve / christmas day and other special holidays?
As a grad/junior midwife, I'm expecting to definitely have to work at least xmas or new years, possibly both (rarely can staff get both off I'm told, depending on the hospital) when I begin next year. I suppose it depends how in-demand those holidays are to get off. Some people will work them and do a morning shift, so they can have xmas dinner etc.

- how do you cope with the sad stuff?
Lots and LOTS of debriefing with the other staff and my fellow students.

- I have pretty good family support and child minding so how family friendly is midwifery in your opinion?
I don't have children yet myself but found it hectic as there is a volunteer pregnant woman program involved outside of uni hours that is now 400 hours. Search continuity of care program (CCE) or Follow through journey (FTJ) in this forum and you will find info on it if you aren't already aware of what is involved. Not to mention fitting placement around studying for exams, essays, working part time and having a social life etc. In saying that though, almost 50% of people in my year level are mothers of young babies, toddles, primary or secondary aged kids and have coped really well, some even are at the top of the class! Not sure if you have kids or not, but from speaking to my friends with children, it seems that as long as you have a VERY supportive partner or family who will help with getting kids to/from school during placements if that is normally your job, and during exams etc, and you can manage your time effectively to balance uni work with family time etc you should be okay with everything.

- In my early 30s, am I too old to be considering this?
Absolutely not! I'd say you would not be out of place in this degree being that age, especially at acu where it is roughly 50-50 straight out of uni girls and older students.

- are there any sites, books or organisation I can get good info from?

Capers bookstore, book depository, google midwifery blogs, ACM, youtube videos of births (the homebirths available are great examples of normal physiological births) etc.

Hopefully that is all helpful information and I haven't scared you off! Feel free to PM me if you'd like clarification. Sometimes the PMs don't get sent to me or won't let me reply so I'll keep an eye on this thread if you post anything here instead original.gif

Good luck and hopefully you apply in the future; as a PP mentioned getting a grad year is a bit like russian roulette at the moment but once you have got one and finished that year your options really open up! It is such a lovely job and really rewarding, despite the hard work involved! wub.gif

#15 Phascogale

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:27 PM

- how many contact hours do you / did you have at uni a week?
It depends on the uni and how many units you are doing.  At ACU they can be very flexible and if you are part time it's theoretically possible to go for a couple of years without having to do a clinical (ie doing theory based units that have no clinical component).  When I did my first year (Monash) I needed to be full time (the way the uni ran and I was there 4 days a week the first semester ( 4-5 hours a day, not all contact) and 3 days a week in the second semester.  Then in the next couple of years there was less and less uni contact time.  Some units were completely online and some you only came in once a fortnight. And then you also don't always have to go to lectures if they are recorded.

Then there are the follow throughs that can take up an awful lot of time.

- at what point do you start doing prac work in hospitals and how does this work?
Once again depends on the uni.  In my first year there was a 2 week aged care placement as part of one of the nursing subjects (part of the B Mid).  In second year I also did 2 days a week in semester 1 and 2 in mid and a 2 week mental health placement (this was the plan, however in my case I actually did something quite different.).  Third year was all mid - 2 days a week for both semesters plus a 4 week consolidation block and then any extra time needed to meet all requirements ie births (I wasn't there much longer than my allocated time).  In my degree I needed to have around 1200 hours of clinical time (this was made up by the nursing placement, mental health, project (had clinical hours allocated as it was interacting with the community) and all the mid placement I did).

Most hospitals have blocks that they allocate to different unis for a certain number of students.  There is not a lot of flexibility unless you can swap placement blocks with another student.  The bigger hospitals have less flexibility than the smaller and private ones as they generally have less students.

- once working as a midwife what is the pay like? I know it is all based on experience.
In Vic it is around $25/hr for a grad midwife and then goes up every year for 10 years to a ceiling (plus rises due to the EBA's they do every few years).  And you can get extra for more training ie becoming an ANUM or CMS and then moving onto management.  Then there are the penalties on top of that for weekends, afternoons, nights.

- how do rosters work? do you work the same days and times each week or does it change? is it easy or hard to change shifts around if needed?

It changes a lot usually. Depends on how nice the person is who is doing the rostering.  They try and accommodate everyone.  When it comes to swapping, you can generally find someone to swap with that's at the same level as you ie when you are a grad midwife you aren't going to be swapping with the person that's going to be in charge of the shift.  That's all when you are a qualified midwife.  As a student it can go either way.  Usually if you need to swap it will be with other students that you are there with.

- is it difficult to work part time?

Very, very easy.  But after you've done a grad year.  Most hospitals that offer grad years expect you to worth either 4 or 5 days a week (and sometimes they all run into one so you end up doing 7 shifts in a row!) to consolidate your skills.  It's quite difficult to consolidate skills when you are only doing 2 days a week.  There are some private hospitals that have taken on grads this year doing 4-5 shifts a fortnight.   Then once you have that experience it's less daunting to be aware that you can 'do it' after you've had a few days off when you go back to work if you've gone part time.

- how often do you have to do night shift / weekend shift?
Different hospitals have different requirements for night shifts.  Some places are very lucky and have enough permanent night staff that they don't require you to work many nights at all.  Most don't.  Some hospitals I know make you work night shifts in blocks ie 2-3 months.  At my hospital you get a week of night shifts every couple of months (although some people seem to go a very long time between nights!)  They are surprisingly family friendly (mainly when kids are at school) but will make you very tired through lack of sleep during the day ie if you don't get to bed till after the kids are at school ie 9am, unless you can get someone to pick them up, then you need to be up by 2:30-3:00pm to go and pick them up.)  Weekends really depend.

As a student you don't always have to do night shift.  Often it's left to when you are in your final year if you do have to do it.

- how often do you have to work on christmas eve / christmas day and other special holidays?
They try and do it as fair as possible and often you'll get every second one off.  But no guarantees.  Often hospitals will do a late start on Christmas day so you start an hour later on an afternoon and the morning staff leave an hour early (depends on the hospital though).  I'm a grad this year and I'm not working Christmas day.  However I am working boxing day, new years eve and new years day (I'm full time though).

- I have pretty good family support and child minding so how family friendly is midwifery in your opinion?
You are unlikely to have a problem then.  It will be fine.  I basically had no family support when I did my course (but I did have before and afterschool care and my husbands workplace was flexible enough that he was able to start work a little later when I did a morning shift so he could drop the kids off - he had a 6:30am start but BSC didn't open till 6:30 (and at the other school the kids were at it was 7am)).  Now I have even less support and it's very doable.

- In my early 30s, am I too old to be considering this? Not at all.  This was the age that I started and there were people in their 50's that started the B Mid with me.  Now I see a lot of grad dips doing mid who are a similar age.  Even if you are 30, you still have a potential 30 or so years to work once you graduate.... maybe.

Also - everyone says that there is a massive demand for midwives, but is that really true? Is it really going to be 'doable' to get a job on graduation?

There is for both midwives and nurses.  However the ability to get a job is somewhat tempered as to whether you can get a grad year or not.  Without a grad year it's very difficult to work throughout the different areas of midwifery.  Agencies will take you but it's mainly for postnatal work.  You may be able to find something in an OB's office for antenatal stuff but very, very difficult to get into a birth suite unless you have a grad year behind you.  Some people are able to get into a private hospital and once they know you they may put you into a birth suite but you need a fair bit of support when first starting out.

I know I wouldn't feel comfortable going into independant practice without a good amount of time behind me gaining experience in a hospital (or you'd have to be apprenticed to someone for a considerable length of time).

So one thing to consider is your ability to get a grad year at the end of it.  In my year there was a cutting in grad year places for midwifery and also a distinct preference for double degree grads.  It's got nothing to do with marks either.  The top students of my year missed out on grad years both academically and clinically.

As a mid going regional is not always an option as you need to work in a large maternity ward that can justify having a direct entry.  This is because in the smaller hospitals they have surgical patients on the maternity ward and some smaller hospitals just don't have a lot of births.  This is where they want double degrees or nurse/midwives, not direct entries.


#16 BubbleBird

Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:40 PM

Just wanted to say a huge big thank you to the wonderful people who have come on here and answered my questions. Your time has really been appreciated. I'm getting very excited by the prospect of one day becoming a midwife. I think at this point in my life the study is a bit beyond my capabilities but I'm thinking I might apply for 2014 and if I'm lucky enough to get in I may defer my place for a year or two. I just wish that I had of followed my instincts straight out of school and applied for mid, rather than doing something I thought was far more glamorous - I was wrong. I guess it's not too late. Thanks again original.gif

#17 weepingangel

Posted 22 November 2012 - 09:51 AM

Bubblebird have you thought of just doing the common units from a BNursing part time ( Can do externally from some uni's) until you are ready to apply for Mid?

Usually the anatomy & physiology units are the same, sometimes an indigenous culture unit...But you can check which ones are.

That way you are easing into study, no placements needed and means less of a work load when you do get accepted for Mid.

#18 RHJ

Posted 24 November 2012 - 11:19 AM

QUOTE (pukeko~ponga~tree @ 22/11/2012, 10:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Bubblebird have you thought of just doing the common units from a BNursing part time ( Can do externally from some uni's) until you are ready to apply for Mid?

Usually the anatomy & physiology units are the same, sometimes an indigenous culture unit...But you can check which ones are.

That way you are easing into study, no placements needed and means less of a work load when you do get accepted for Mid.


This  is a great idea. You do have to pay full price for the units I think, but especially the Anatomy and physiology units are a great idea to get out of the way before you are accepted. If you score well in them they can often be used to score your application for Mid and get you in the door biggrin.gif

#19 ubermum

Posted 24 November 2012 - 11:34 AM

I have a family member that did BMid at ACU. She would advise you not to. Not because the course is not good, on the contrary, it's an excellent degree that fully prepared her for her position as a midwife. The problem lies after the course. This year there was 66 positions available for graduates with a straight Bmid in the state of Victoria. That means only 66 jobs when in the ACU program alone there is 125 students. If you don't believe me, check out THIS LINK which is where you apply for graduate jobs. I would advise you to do the double degree nursing/midwifery or to do nursing and do midwifery as a post grad. My family member has quite a few uni friends that are qualified but don't have jobs to go to. It would be devastating to work so hard, get qualified and then not get a job.

#20 RHJ

Posted 24 November 2012 - 05:50 PM

QUOTE (ubermum @ 24/11/2012, 12:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have a family member that did BMid at ACU. She would advise you not to. Not because the course is not good, on the contrary, it's an excellent degree that fully prepared her for her position as a midwife. The problem lies after the course. This year there was 66 positions available for graduates with a straight Bmid in the state of Victoria. That means only 66 jobs when in the ACU program alone there is 125 students. If you don't believe me, check out THIS LINK which is where you apply for graduate jobs. I would advise you to do the double degree nursing/midwifery or to do nursing and do midwifery as a post grad. My family member has quite a few uni friends that are qualified but don't have jobs to go to. It would be devastating to work so hard, get qualified and then not get a job.

While this is true- RE graduate jobs for midwives, it is actually a similar situation for nursing graduates this year also. I don't have the exact stats for it for Nurses, but in groups that I am in it appears to be affecting the double degree students, postgrad and nursing students at about similar rates. Also, this is a recent thing. We are hoping that by the time these new girls are graduating in 3 or 4 + years that the damn governments will have done something to rectify the stupidity of having midwifery and nursing staffing shortages, but not being able to offer positions to QUALIFIED new graduates.

#21 ubermum

Posted 25 November 2012 - 03:54 PM

Yes it has been difficult for nursing grads this year. I was lucky to get a position but 830 Vic grads will miss out and Qld was shocking. Only 10% or 270 of them got jobs. Still you have to consider that there was only 65 straight mid places on offer in Vic and you will be competing for those against nurses with post grad mid or double degree holders. Ultimately you are more employable with two qualifications. My nearest hospital won't even employ midwives unless they are RNs as well.

#22 RHJ

Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:33 PM

QUOTE (ubermum @ 25/11/2012, 04:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes it has been difficult for nursing grads this year. I was lucky to get a position but 830 Vic grads will miss out and Qld was shocking. Only 10% or 270 of them got jobs. Still you have to consider that there was only 65 straight mid places on offer in Vic and you will be competing for those against nurses with post grad mid or double degree holders. Ultimately you are more employable with two qualifications. My nearest hospital won't even employ midwives unless they are RNs as well.

Actually from what I am gathering- the 65 places for mids are actually only competition between direct entry and double degreers. I believe more jobs were offered than that as I know that the hospital I was placed at was only offering 4 places through computer match. Originally it was 8 when the numbers first came out. After the interviews etc (which included postgrad, doubles and direct) the computer match number was dropped to 4. When I went to the welcoming morning recently I found out there are in fact 8 starting next year- so the postgrads weren't counted in that initial number as they are included in computer match.  When the first lot of numbers came out in computer match when asking for applications it was around 85. So maybe all those spots were filled with postgrads.

Does that make sense?


Sorry OP- getting off topic. Can't help myself!

Edited by RHJ, 25 November 2012 - 05:33 PM.


#23 Water lily

Posted 25 November 2012 - 10:24 PM

I am a midwife, I just finished my studies this year after studying a similar course in another state in Australia (direct entry 3yr Bachelor of Midwifery).

I will try answer your questions and you're welcome to private message me any other queries you have!

- how many contact hours do you / did you have at uni a week?
It varied each year
Year 1: 24hrs per week, with 8 weeks of clinical placement in the year- there's no uni lectures during clinical placement.  
Year 2: 26hrs per week, with 12 weeks of clinical placement in the year
Year 3: Only 8 x 8hr days times in the whole year, the rest of the time we were on placement
While the uni hours do seem like a lot, keep in mind each semester is only 12 weeks, so 24 weeks total out of 52 weeks of the year. You normally have all of November, December, January and February off uni for holidays, and then one month between June-July off for holidays as well. As a midwifery student you will probably be in the hospital for some hours during this holiday time, but you can try manage it to suit when you want to be in the hospital, and you won't have the pressures of assignments, study or lectures during this holiday time.

- at what point do you start doing prac work in hospitals and how does this work?
At the university I was at, we started prac in first semester of first year, but only at the end, so we did 10 weeks of uni and then for the last 2 weeks of semester we went out on prac for the first time.

- once working as a midwife what is the pay like? I know it is all based on experience.
It varies depending on which state in Australia you work in, it also depends whether you end up working in a public or private hospital. The rate of pay generally goes up each year until you have been a midwife for 8yrs, then it just goes up with KPI or if you change roles etc. For myself, as a midwife 1st year out, my take home pay each week after tax, and with weekend/night shift/overtime incorporated, is $900 so $46,000 yr after tax. It's certainly not a lot for what we do, but it does go up each year. One of the senior midwives who I work with, who is on the 8yr> salary and receives additional Team Leader and other recognition of experience and leadership benefits, is on $90,000 a year before tax.
On a side note, I have a degree in a completely different field before doing midwifery, and was working in the corporate world for a few years, earning >$100,000 a year. I can say, as a midwife, even though I earn less than half what I used to, I have never been happier. I love my job, I really love going to work, and I make a difference in families lives and have the ability to make a huge impact on families experiences and memories in such a special and life changing time of their lives, it is incredibly rewarding. And I come home a happier person, I'm a better mum to my kids and a better partner to my fiance, because I am happy in my job, and almost every day I come home with a smile on my face because of something amazing I got to be a part of that day at work. It's worth the pay cut.

- how do rosters work? do you work the same days and times each week or does it change? is it easy or hard to change shifts around if needed?

As a student, it depends on what the hospital and course organises and will vary. Generally there's flexibility with students and students who have kids, as long as you meet the required hours each semester they're usually ok for you to change things around or avoid doing hours in school holidays etc.
As an employed midwife, it depends on the hospital and your employer again, you have roster requests and some hospitals might employ you on set day/s per week basis, but it's generally expected that you will have flexibility to work 7 days a week over a 24hr clock time period given the fact that a hospital never closes and needs to be staffed 7 days a week 24hrs a day.

- is it difficult to work part time?

No not really, midwives are in demand, most hospitals would be keen to take you on whether you were part time or full time.
- how often do you have to do night shift / weekend shift?
As a student, rostered weekend shifts are not so common, but some people request to do weekends so you certainly can do them. Night shift, depends of the uni/hospital again, some hospitals make you do night shift from 1st year, others don't ask you to do night shift until 3rd year. Night shift is difficult to adjust to initially but is something you will get used to, and will need to get used to as you will be expected to work night shift when you are employed as a midwife. From a midwifery/birthing perspective, some of the best births occur at night time, when it's dark, the hospital is quiet, and there are less doctors and other people flying about, women are able to just do what they need to do with less medical intervention and distraction.
As an employed midwife, the number of night shifts varies again dependant on your contract. At the hospital I work at, we work 4 x 10hr night shifts each month. The 4 shifts are in a row, back to back, and then they're done for the month, the times are 9.30pm-7.30am. The other shifts are: 7am-3.30pm or 1pm-9.30pm (at the hospital I work at anyway). So none of those shifts really work with child care or school hours, so before/after school care and family support to pick up and mind the kids is essential. The shifts aren't so bad, if you work a 1pm-10pm shift you still get most of the morning to get things done at home etc. If you work 7-3.30 yes you are gone out the door before the kids are up, but you're home in time to do homework, after school activities, dinner etc. Most 9-5 workers can't do the things we can do on a 1-10pm shift or 7-3.30pm shift!

- how often do you have to work on christmas eve / christmas day and other special holidays?
As a student you won't have to work these holidays. As an employed midwife, again varies dependant on your employer but in a year yes you will have to work some holidays and need to have some flexibility with this, but they generally take requests and will try give you your request. ie. this year I have requested Chistmas Day off, and was granted it, but have compensated and have been fair to my colleagues by putting my hand up to work the 1-10pm Christmas Eve shift, and night shift on New Years Eve, so that my colleagues who are going to be working Christmas Day and missing Christmas with their families can at least have Christmas Eve and New Years off. It's all give and take, and everyone has to be respectful and mindful of who worked last Christmas and try take turns. Next year I know I'll probably have to work Christmas and that's fine, we'll just have to make Christmas Eve a special night in our house as hopefully I'll be home then. Again as I previously said, while working special holidays is not great, you're doing great work, and the families you look after are always grateful for you helping look after them on a day like Christmas Day, so it makes a difference.

- how do you cope with the sad stuff?
I could write a lot on this, but don't have the time now, but I will say uni helps prepare you for this, but you learn how you cope when it happens. You do have to go in knowing that not every outcome will be great, sometimes babies die, sometimes mothers die, and it's always terribly sad and you never 'get over it' but you learn form the other midwives about what to say, and what to do, and also how to look after yourself as well. There are counsellors available if you need if you have experienced a very traumatic event with a woman or baby.

- I have pretty good family support and child minding so how family friendly is midwifery in your opinion?
As above in the shift hours section, it's not totally child friendly due to the start/finish times, but if you have support then it works, and you'll get used to the shift hours.

- In my early 30s, am I too old to be considering this?
Definitely not! Most of the women I studies with were late twenties, or in their thirties. There were some women who were in their fifty's. I think some life experience and having your own children gives you an advantage as a midwife

- are there any sites, books or organisation I can get good info from?
The uni you are thinking of applying to is the best start, go to their open day and ask the lecturers lots of questions. It's late now but I'll think of some other good resources and come back and post them in here!

Best of luck and hope that helps original.gif

Edited by Water lily, 25 November 2012 - 10:32 PM.


#24 BubbleBird

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:30 PM

Thanks again to everyone who has come in here and given me such wonderful info. I will look into my options of knocking over a few subjects before actually starting midwifery - thanks original.gif





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