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Birth of a Midwife

Sorry for keeping you all in the dark about my weal and woe for so long. I had such a hectic time. I rounded up my internship in Slovenia, finished the last assignments of my midwifery training, graduated, and took a long, well deserved, and necessary summer-break. I tried to spend as much time as possible offline to recharge my batteries. And here I am, back with new, fresh energy to embark upon the job-hunting journey and to start my working life as a midwife!

As most of you know, I did a traineeship at the Labour Ward of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana from February until May 2016. In that context, I was interviewed by Utrip, the newsletter of the professional association of nurses and midwives in Slovenia. One of the main things they wanted to know was what kind of experiences and competences I acquired while at the UMCL.

Coming from Belgium, arriving in the hectic clinical setting of a big labour ward with an impressive number of births a year was quite exciting. The UMCL birth centre is located in its own building and encompasses a labour assessment unit (triage), 11 labour rooms and two operating rooms, several maternity floors, a Maternity Intensive Care (MIC), a neonatology department (N*), and a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Most of the time, I worked at the labour ward, where a team of multidisciplinary professionals warmly welcomed me in their midst and took an active part in my learning process. The team of eight midwives that took me under their guidance, made me feel at home and at ease right from the start.

It was very inspiring for me to train in a clinical setting in which the midwives are the primary birth experts. They turned out to have a lot of experience in applying labour and delivery techniques that spare the perineum and avoid episiotomies as much as possible. I am very grateful they were willing to pass on this know-how to me.

Thank you to the team!

In Slovenia I got to experience the added value of working in a large and multidisciplinary team, with all disciplines involved in childbirth at little more than shouting distance. Having so many different competences and fields of expertise at hand, creates an environment that is both challenging and stimulating – I really enjoyed working in this team setting and learning from the varying individual skills of the other team members.

In Belgium we have CTG monitors in the office and in the rooms of the patients. It holds the risk of relying on the screen too much and paying less attention to clinical observations. In Slovenia, I further learned to focus on the patient. Because of the higher number of natural births, I also gained more experience in recognizing, guiding and coaching the different stages of labour. I conducted more than the required number of deliveries for my logbook and I got the chance to see different kinds of high-risk labours and pathologies and learned about their management.

Through this internship, my horizon of knowledge, my clinical competency, and my flexibility have been broadened and deepened. Working in a foreign clinical setting has made me familiar with the use of other materials, approaches and procedures in health care. I acquired knowledge and skills that will help me pursue my ambition of a career as a global midwife and to provide high-level midwifery care regardless of the health care setting I am in.

Thanks to the positive teaching and learning climate, I also gained confidence in my competency as a midwife. This traineeship helped me to further strengthen my interpersonal skills and it further stimulated my open-mindedness and helped me to rethink and sometimes revise my ideas and approaches where useful/necessary. It also further increased my capability to fit in any type of working environment.

I am very grateful to the patients who entrusted it to me to bring their hope and dreams into this world, and to all team members for offering me this training opportunity and for contributing so positively to the birth of this midwife.

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