Shadowing a Doctor

September 2, 2016

Chelsea Millett is one of our most dedicated students. Her determination to become a midwife has seen her join us on two placements to Iringa, Tanzania, racking up a very respectable total of five weeks’ work shadowing. We caught up with her to learn how Gap Medics has got her on the road to her perfect career! 

Why did you decide to do a Gap Medics placement?

I’ve wanted to be a midwife since I was in year eight, when my older sister became pregnant. I was amazed at how the body changes and that a little person grows inside you!

I got to observe midwives in my local hospital for the weekend, but when I found Gap Medics I realised I would love to experience midwifery in a developing country as well. Last year I only went for a week, so I decided to join Gap Medics again – this time for a month!

Describe a typical day on placement for you.

A typical day on placement started at 8:15am. When we got to the wards, we changed into our scrubs and met our mentors for a 9am start.

Our first job would be to go round the labour ward, where we did the normal checks to see how each mother’s labour was progressing. We got to see quite a few natural births and sometimes might see a caesarian section if one was needed. We also visited the neonatal department, where the babies are kept until their mothers were out of recovery. Occasionally we got to take the babies to the mothers – it was amazing to see their faces light up when they were given their baby!

Some things I saw will stay with me forever. When we were preparing for one of the caesarian sections, all the health professionals were singing to the patient to calm her down. Once they were all scrubbed up and ready to start, the surgeon prayed for the patient before starting. Finally, once the baby had been delivered, the surgeon cuddled it for a bit before wiping it up and then passing it over to the midwife. It was so lovely to see.

The most important thing I learnt whilst spending time in Tanzania was how to help a newborn baby breathe after birth if it has been born not breathing or with difficulties. This will help me a lot in my career and help me to save lives!


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How has your experience helped you in pursuit of your dream career?

My trips with Gap Medics have made me 100% sure that midwifery is the career for me. Being able to witness birth in Tanzania and compare it to what I’ve seen at home in England was truly amazing. I learnt so much in Tanzania, from the antenatal care all the way to postnatal. I learnt things that I probably wouldn’t have learnt until university, so the fact that I’ll be knowledgeable on them even before starting university will give me a massive head start.

What are your plans now?

I start my ‘Access to Midwifery’ course at college this September, which is a one-year intensive course, and at the same time I will be redoing my GCSE Maths. Whilst at college, I will be applying to UCAS and hopefully get into university for the March 2018 intake. From September 2017 I’m hoping to get some travelling done before I start my midwifery degree. I have plans to join Gap Medics again in Thailand and want to try and do their other destinations, too!

What would you tell anyone thinking of doing a placement with Gap Medics?

I would tell them to stop thinking and just go for it!

I know the price might scare you, but it’s totally worth it. I worked the whole year before leaving and also set up a fundraising page which helped add to my funds. I worked hard to get donations for the two orphanages and the labour ward in Iringa. I had family and friends donate old baby and children’s clothes which went really far, and I also took along shoes, toothpaste and toothbrushes for them.

Doing Gap Medics not once, but twice in Tanzania was the best thing I ever decided to do in my journey towards becoming a midwife.


Want to follow in Chelsea’s footsteps? Check out our dedicated midwifery placements and start planning your career-transforming journey right now.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.