How to shadow a midwife

September 17, 2020

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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Shadowing is a wonderful, and often required, learning opportunity before you pursue a career in healthcare. Pre-health students want to know: how do you shadow a midwife?

We know if you are interested in becoming a certified nurse midwife that you want to ensure you have the best experience possible. One that allows you to understand what a day in the life of a midwife looks like, as well as what your responsibilities are, and your role within the healthcare system.

At Global Pre-Meds, we have students from all medical paths in our programs because we know how to support them on their journey to becoming a healthcare professional. We’ve explored how you can shadow a midwife.

Finding a midwife to shadow

If you want to shadow locally, we recommend starting with the people you know. As with many professional experiences, using your connections is often the best way to find career opportunities.

Even if you don’t know a midwife specifically, you could ask someone you know in the medical field – a doctor, nurse, or physician assistant – to see if they know any midwives that may allow you to shadow them. Some students even ask their family doctor for recommendations.

Midwives are qualified to work in birth settings, so they can be a part of many institutions. While some are attached to hospitals or clinics, they can also work at private practices and birth centers. Some even work individually and provide in-home birth services.

If you can’t use personal connections to find a certified nursing midwife (CNM), you can always try contacting one of the aforementioned institutions and ask if they allow students to shadow. If you know of a reputable midwife and can find their contact information, it can be helpful to speak to them directly, either by phone or email.

Midwives can work for long stretches of time – sometimes 48 hours or more, especially if they are working individually at home births. No matter who you are shadowing, make sure you understand when you’re expected to be there and how many hours you can anticipate getting from the experience.

It can be trickier to find a midwife to shadow than some other healthcare professions. Given that a part of midwifery is working with expectant mothers, you may encounter some more concerns about privacy. If you hope to witness a birth, it may take you some time to find an opportunity where the mother is comfortable with an observer during such a personal experience.

With our program, you don’t have to worry about finding the right mentor or location that suits your needs. All you have to do is apply, and we can guarantee you 40 hours of shadowing at an international hospital.

At Global Pre-Meds, we want to help you reach your goals. We make sure that students with similar interests are grouped together, and we make sure that your mentor knows what those interests are.

If you are heading towards midwifery, and you want to see more obstetrics, gynecology and maternity care, we can make it happen. You will more than likely have the opportunity to witness a birth or a Cesarean, but that’s not all midwives do.

We give you a comprehensive experience that includes time in the antenatal and postnatal care units. It’s important to see as much as you can during your shadowing hours.

Getting the most out of your midwifery experience

We know you’re eager to learn all you can about midwifery and medicine. There are a few ways you can make sure you’re using your time wisely as you get those observation hours.

Plan ahead and make sure you know what your expectations are. This includes knowing what time you should be there, what you should be wearing, and knowing the hospital or CNM’s rules.

Do some research beforehand to learn about the profession. You’re not going to be expected to know everything, but a little foundational knowledge never hurt anyone. This can also help you know what questions you’ll really want to ask.

Be prepared to interact with patients politely and professionally. If you are unsure about what you should or should not say, make sure to ask your certified midwife or mentoring doctor. And when you have questions, try to ask them in between patients rather than in front of them.

At Global Pre-Meds, we’ll make sure you have all the information you need. We take care of everything as soon as you land in the country. We have a dedicated staff to take care of cooking and transportation during your stay at our Global Pre-Meds guesthouse.

We also provide American-standard PPE for you and your mentoring doctor so that you can stay healthy and safe, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, we follow health, safety, and ethical standards from the AAMC and BMA, which means there will be no physical contact between you and any patients.

How shadowing a midwife can help your career

Many midwifery programs require you to have shadowing or volunteer experience before you are accepted into their school. Shadowing a midwife can help you decide if it is the right career for you.

These observation hours give you an understanding of what a day-to-day experience is like for CNMs and other midwives. You’ll know what the benefits and the challenges are so that you can choose to pursue this path or another medical career.

With our program, you’ll get the full hospital experience. You can see how a hospital team works together so that even if midwifery may not be the place for you, you get the opportunity to observe other medical professions.

Additionally, we gain a global health perspective with our program. You’ll see a completely different part of the world and its healthcare system. Understanding healthcare in the global context will give you a great advantage in your career.

By shadowing a midwife or doctor, you start to build relationships within the healthcare field. This is important because you will likely need references for school or jobs in the future.

At Global Pre-Meds, your mentoring doctor provides you with a personal letter of recommendation, which helps you in your future applications.

If you are interested in midwifery, we hope that you’ll consider one of our comprehensive doctor shadowing programs.