I received a lot of questions about my internship in Slovenia and my first experiences as an intern at the labour ward. Let me finally kick off this blog by addressing what is probably one of the most frequently asked questions, by patients as well as by staff members, friends, and family: why do an internship in Slovenia?
The truth is, I wanted to do my last internship in Africa, but ended up training in Slovenia. I changed school to be able to do my clinical training in Brussels (urban multicultural bilingual setting) and to do an internship abroad. Unfortunately, the deadline for applications to go to Africa had passed, I was left with the option to either go to Finland or to Slovenia. The choice was quickly made, for personal as well as professional reasons. On the one hand, I already had a history with Slovenia, and on the other hand, training in Ljubljana enjoys a good reputation.
The Slovenian labour ward of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana (UMCL) is known for its good standards in clinical practice as well as in the field of research. The UMCL houses the biggest labour ward of the fourteen Slovenian maternities and is one of the largest hospital centres in Central Europe, with approximately 6000-8000 births a year. The labour ward serves as a regional reference centre for high risk pregnancies and deliveries and all sorts of pathologies and has the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the country.
Training in such a centre of excellence would offer me unique learning opportunities. Especially because midwives in Slovenia have a much more independent status than in Belgium. They conduct every normal low risk labour and are very actively involved in the management of high risk cases. In that respect, they work as part of an multidisciplinary team. This gives me the chance to learn how to practice midwifery care from skillful and very experienced midwifes.
First, a taste of my housing. I have the privilege of living in a studio in the very centre of Ljubljana. This not only makes it easy for me to go out at night and take a stroll in the picturesque streets, it also has the advantage of being in walking distance of the hospital. Given the limited amount of time and the multiple night shifts, this is more than convenient.
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