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Lara Bland BSc Midwifery, 2018

Full-time midwife, Southampton

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Hi, I am Lara Bland and I studied BSc (Hons) Midwifery.

A highlight was being able to organise a 3 week elective placement. I went to Pokhara in Nepal, where I worked in a private hospital on the Obstetrics and Gynaecology ward, as well as visiting a world-famous leprosy and rehabilitation hospital.

What led you to choose to study midwifery? 
For as long as I can remember, it has been my dream to become a midwife. I have always been fascinated by the physiology of childbirth, and I wanted to study a subject that would be challenging and rewarding.

Why did you choose to come and study at the University of Southampton? 
Southampton is part of the Russell group universities and had an excellent reputation for nursing and midwifery. The University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust is a highly recognised centre for fetal and maternal medicine, and neonatal intensive care, and I was excited to have the chance to learn from and work within this busy environment. When I attended both the open day and my interview, I felt such a warm welcome from the lecturers and I knew it was where I wanted to study. In addition, the course was split into separate theory and placement blocks which really appealed to me.

What is it like studying here?
The main campus is a very green and pretty place to study, with modern classrooms and lecture theatres, plenty of cafes, and a great sports centre. The Hartley Library has a wealth of resources but can get extremely busy in exam season! For me, Southampton has been a super fun and stimulating place to live.

What other activities did you take advantage of while at University? 
I joined the NAMSOC netball team, and the Christian Union. I had a membership at the Jubilee Sports centre. I frequently helped out at university open days for the health sciences department, and I became my academic course rep for 2016-2017. I also became a member of Christian Medical Fellowship, a group of nursing and midwifery students who meet to encourage and support each other and discuss topics or issues we face in clinical practice.

What do you think about the study facilities at the University?
The Hartley library had all the resources and books I needed for my studies, and the faculty of health sciences has extra computer rooms that we could use if the library was busy.

What have been your Southampton ‘highlights’ (best experiences)?
A definite highlight was being able to organise a 3 week elective placement in my second year of study. I went to Pokhara in Nepal, where I worked in a private hospital on the Obstetrics and Gynaecology ward, as well as visiting a world-famous leprosy and rehabilitation hospital. This experience gave me a valuable insight into a fascinating culture, and how maternity care is provided when resources are limited.

How has your time at Southampton helped you to grow as a person?
My studies have improved my essay writing, research skills, and critique of evidence, as well as my independence and confidence. Midwifery has opened my eyes to better understand other people’s lifestyle, values, cultures and beliefs.

What have you enjoyed most about your course?
I enjoyed our final dissertation module where we were asked to analyse the literature on a midwifery topic of our choice and develop a research proposal to address a research question generated from our review. I also enjoyed the wide variety of placements I was able to experience, including the birth centres, Labour Ward, day assessment unit, neonatal unit, theatres and GP surgeries.

If you stayed in University accommodation, what was it like?
In my first year I stayed in Hartley Grove, part of the Chamberlain halls, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a short walk to the campus, and near to the main bus route to the hospital. I had a large ensuite room and shared a kitchen with 5 others. I went to the weekly hall group run by the Christian Union, which helped me to make friends and settle in.

What is the city of Southampton like to live in?
Southampton has become my home. It is a city where I have made lifelong friends and explored new hobbies. There are a lot of beautiful places to visit nearby, like the New Forest, Bournemouth, and Winchester.

What advice would you give to a student starting their degree at Southampton?
My piece of advice would be to get involved in as much as you can and take every opportunity offered to you. Work to the best of your ability, but also have fun - your time at university will fly by!

Tell us about what you’re doing now, and the next steps in your midwifery career. 
Training at the University of Southampton has opened up a great number of opportunities. I am currently working full time as a midwife in Southampton, and my job involves doing community visits, running an antenatal clinic, and working in the birth centres. I hope to stay in this job for a couple of years to consolidate my knowledge before considering progressing in my career. I would one day love to help with midwifery overseas.

How did your course at Southampton prepare you for your future career? 
The various assignments we had at university have equipped me with the research, presentation, analytical, and discussion skills I will need throughout my career. Spending 50% of each year on placement working alongside midwives was invaluable, and gave us the chance to see and practice the things we had learnt in theory. The wide variety of placements we had also enabled me to explore which areas I would most like to work in in the future.

Midwifery at Southampton

Lara shares her experiences of life as a midwifery degree student at the University of Southampton

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