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Analysis

MSW voice: MSW to student midwife

28 November, 2014

MSW voice: MSW to student midwife

Beth Murphy describes her journey to gaining a place at her chosen university.

 

Until recently, I had been happily working in maternity as an MSW, and before that in gynaecology as a healthcare assistant. My ultimate goal, however, had always been to become a midwife. 
 
Both posts were intended to provide me with some hands-on experience, and that’s not to say that I just went through the motions to gain experience – I thoroughly enjoyed my time in both places and met some incredible people along the way, who gave me excellent experiences and opportunities.
 
While working as an MSW, I was offered the chance to apply to study at London South Bank University for a foundation degree in maternity support. This was a very important step for me, as I needed to gain the entry requirements to study midwifery.
 
Nearing completion of this course, I felt I had finally achieved all the crucial steps to give me the best possibility of being offered a place. 
 
Unfortunately, this was not necessarily the case and it soon became clear to me that not all universities recognise the foundation degree in maternity support. However, after some explaining and discussion, I was invited to attend interviews. 
 
While waiting for these interviews, I planned key points I wished to make, in order to convey the experience I had gained over the years. I wanted to tell them about how I had promoted breastfeeding on the postnatal ward or assisted the midwives on the midwife-led birthing suite. I wanted to say how over the five years, I had developed a deep understanding of what it is to be a midwife and how I felt ready to become one. However, my prepared speeches were not needed, after finding that the questions asked in the interviews had nothing to do with my personal experience in maternity. It was only after leaving that it all made sense to me. 
 
Out of the thousands who apply every year, only some will have worked in a healthcare setting. The universities therefore, have to tailor the questions to gauge how you, as an individual, have the drive to achieve your goals and what your personal skills and values are. They want to know what diversity means to you, and how you would deal with challenging situations in everyday life. They are certainly interested in your experiences, but not necessarily within a midwifery context. Fortunately, I was offered a place to study at my first choice – London South Bank University. 
 
Now, having started, I find that I was right and the questioning was designed to find the most suitable students, whatever their background. Out of the whole cohort, only about half have previously worked in a healthcare setting and they come from all walks of life and previous jobs, and to be honest, it couldn’t matter less. It is obvious that everyone who was offered a place deserves to be here. 
 
Personally, my career choices and experience have been vital in helping me get here and I would never discourage anyone from doing the same. However, for others, it wasn’t necessary to follow that route in order to achieve the same goal.
 
Beth Murphy
First-year student midwife, London South Bank University
 
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