Is a career as a midwife a good match for you?October 31, 2014
With excellent career prospects, an attractive pay scale and a wealth of job opportunities all around the world, a career in midwifery has become extremely popular. To become a qualified midwife, you need to complete a three-year, full-time, rigorous degree program. You can only begin practising after you’ve obtained your degree and passed the licensing exam. While a career in this field may sound like an excellent choice because of salary and career prospects, not everyone is cut out for this job. The reality of the job may actually be in stark contrast to what you imagined it to be. This is a fast-paced specialty with plenty of ups and downs. Delivering babies may be the big draw for you but not all deliveries proceed smoothly. Being able to stay steady amidst this huge rollercoaster ride is an important aspect of being a midwife.
How can you be sure whether or not this is an area that you will excel in or will even like? One of the best ways to get a close-up look at what the life of a midwife is really like is to get some first-hand clinical experience.
Looking for midwifery shadowing opportunities at home
Ideally, the most convenient midwife shadowing experience that you get will be as close to home as possible. You will be able to live in the comfort of your own home and be close to your family and friends. Also, in these modern hospitals you will get to watch how a midwife works with the latest equipment and support by other highly trained professionals.
However, the reality is that it is very difficult to get shadowing experience in most developed countries. Institutions are reluctant to take on inexperienced pre-meds who they will have to be liable for. There are also several rules and restrictions that have to be followed along with confidentiality clauses and insurance issues that could get them into trouble.
The ideal alternative – gain experience abroad
There are several organisations that arrange for midwifery shadowing opportunities for pre-midwifery students in hospitals in developing countries. These medical placements offer you a unique perspective of any medical stream you may be interested in pursuing. You get to see professionals in different specialties working to treat and cure patients against all odds, from lack of basic medical amenities to the lack of much-needed professional support. An experience such as this will open your eyes as to how midwives in these countries care for their patients using the most basic amenities in the most innovative ways.
More importantly, the experience will help you realise right from the outset whether this is a specialty that you would like to pursue or not. As many other pre-midwifery students have discovered, it is so much better to figure out this crucial element after spending just a couple of weeks at a placement rather than after spending three years slogging it out in a professional college only to find when you start working that this career path is not the right one for you.