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Christine Wiggill BSc (Hons) Midwifery2020

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Hi, I am Christine Wiggill and I'm currently studying BSc (Hons) Midwifery.

The placements undertaken as part of the course have served as fantastic experiences to build up my midwifery knowledge and I am so grateful for the midwives and the staff I have worked with who have inspired and supported me on the way.

Why did you choose to come and study at Southampton?

Southampton has a great international reputation, both for the research it carries out and the fantastic hospital it works with. I knew coming here would push me academically and make me strive to achieve the best I can. I also saw that, besides the academic study at Southampton I would be able to participate in an array of university clubs and societies. I joined both the mixed and Ladies Lacrosse teams. Through these clubs, I have toured to compete with many other universities, which has made incredible memories and formed wonderful friendships.

Can you tell us what led you to pursue Midwifery?

I find midwifery an utterly unique branch of healthcare. You are able to support and facilitate the journey individuals face in becoming parents and are able to form special relationships with them at a time, which can be both immensely stressful, but also wonderfully affirming. Unlike other aspects of healthcare in midwifery, you are mostly caring for healthy people going through a normal yet remarkable physiological process. I find pregnancy and child-bearing incredible and to be able to support those going through it is an absolute privilege.

What is it like studying here?

I have loved it at Southampton. I found the way the structure of the course has been run very manageable and the teaching incredible. I feel lucky to be supported by my lecturers who care and go above and beyond for us and genuinely want us to do well. The placements undertaken as part of the course have served as fantastic experiences to build up my midwifery knowledge. I am so grateful for the midwives and staff I have worked with who have inspired and supported me on the way.

Southampton has also been brilliant for the incredible variety of sports and societies on offer. I only wish I had more free time! In my three years I have played both Ladies and Mixed Lacrosse and been on the committee for Mixed Lacrosse. With Ladies Lacrosse we have become Western Conference Cup winners and won our league. Being a part of two brilliant societies pushed me to excel outside of academia and to form incredible friendships through unforgettable experiences. I have also been able to go on wonderful trips with the University, including the Ski trip to Val d’Isère in 2018 and a Lacrosse tour to Rimini, Italy in 2019!

Tell us about your overseas project in South Africa? What did you do there and what did you enjoy most?

As part of our second year we can go on a 2-3 week ‘elective’ to explore an aspect of midwifery of our choice. I knew I wanted to explore and learn what midwifery was like in another country and healthcare system. Luckily, I have family who work in a hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, who were able to put me in contact with someone to help me organise a placement at the Tygerberg Hospital.

I was in South Africa for a total of six weeks (two weeks elective and four weeks travelling). I was able to learn about the South African healthcare system, as well as the challenges faced in the community and township areas it supports, whilst observing nursing and midwifery care at Tygerberg Hospital. I worked with an amazing nurse who took me under her wing.

The whole experience truly humbled me, enforcing how exceptionally lucky we are in the UK to have the NHS system. It has influenced who I am as a person and the goals I want to achieve when I finally qualify as a midwife.

How did you find the facilities on your course – is there anything that stands out to you?

When learning for our Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) we used fantastic models in our clinical suite to practice dealing with obstetric and neonatal emergencies. The environment reflected real-life scenarios. It was an effective way to immerse ourselves in modelled clinical practice instead of a classroom, helping us visualise and practice various manoeuvres we needed to learn. Having our lecturers at our side, demonstrating and giving feedback, helped us build our confidence so we would be aware and ready for clinical practice.

Can you tell us about your experiences on placement so far? Why are they important? How did your placements to compare to each other?

Practical experience has been integral to my learning. Putting theory into practice and seeing the physical effects and results of decisions made demonstrated the importance of confident understanding and knowledge. I am lucky to have worked with such fantastic midwives and clinicians at Southampton, including those at the Princess Anne Hospital and the many maternity hubs around Southampton. I have always felt supported in my learning and unafraid to ask for help and guidance when I feel out of my depth. The midwives and staff I have worked with have been passionate about supporting my learning, making sure I get the most out of my experiences with them and learning as much as I can. The discussions with them about midwifery and care and the experiences shared have made me into a stronger and more confident person, being surer of myself and what I can achieve if I continue to work hard.

I have had placements in a range of different areas - from clinics, working with NEST teams, to high risk antenatal and postnatal wards, to both high and low risk birth centres. The skillset and knowledge built from working in all these areas not only make me stronger as a midwife-to-be but as a person it has made me more resilient and confident.

Were there any modules you particularly enjoyed?

I found the Developing Midwifery Professional Profile Module, in which we were encouraged to pursue an aspect of midwifery care of our choice via an ‘elective’, brilliant. I will have life-long memories of my time at Tygerberg Hospital and am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to go and independently take charge of my learning.

What are you most proud of from your time at Southampton so far? (This could be social or academic).

I am proud of how I have grown as a person. I feel confident to be open and honest when I don’t know something and strive to listen and learn about it. The lovely feedback letters that I have had from clients and being chosen as Student Midwife of the Month twice boosted my confidence in my own abilities and confirmed to me that I was on the right career path.

What are your plans for the future?

There are many things I would like to do, such as exploring the world, whilst working as a midwife. Eventually, I would like to work for MSF Doctors without Borders and with other humanitarian organisations. In the meantime, I plan to learn and experience as much as I can to make this possible so I can be the best I can be!

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