Rising to the challenge

So, we found out last week where our clinical placements for integration will be. Sadly, I will not be returning to the same hospital where I did my Intrapartum rotation. Honestly, I think that site was one of the best placements a student could hope for: it was busy, with lots of births, the population was amazingly diverse and so much fun to work with, there were no residents, the midwives were respected and involved in the management of everything from preterm labor to hypertension, and the midwives themselves (well, at least my preceptors…I can’t speak for every midwife in the service, since I didn’t have the opportunity to work with all of them) were warm, patient, intelligent and caring. All in all, I feel like I really blossomed under their preceptorship; my skills improved tremendously, my confidence in my ability to manage births, triage, take histories, put puzzle pieces together grew, my SOAP notes and management became much more focused and precise, I felt like my input and opinions were valued, and I would wake up every morning on the days of my clinicals and jump out of bed, thrilled and excited about the prospect of the day that lay ahead of me. It was lovely.

I have always believed, as I’ve travelled down this road towards becoming a midwife, that the experiences I have are exactly the experiences I need, at that specific moment in time, in order to teach me whatever lesson it is that I need to learn in order to become the best midwife I can be. About halfway through my IP rotation, I began to feel like I really wanted to stay at that clinical site for my Integration as well, and I started to talk to my preceptors about this. Some of them thought this was a great idea, and that I would continue to grow and progress and learn a lot from them during my Integration (and I’m sure this would have been the case, had I stayed); I must admit, the thought of continuing to grow in such a nurturing, excellent environment was very appealing to me. A few other preceptors, though, felt very strongly that I needed to go somewhere else for Integration. Their reasoning was that 1) as a student, you should go to as many different sites as possible, to learn and experience the broadest spectrum of midwifery care possible, 2) they felt that my skills were strong, and that the next lesson I needed to learn was to trust in my skills and in my judgement, and to have to defend my choices and decisions to others in an environment that was more challenging and not quite as nurturing, 3) from a job perspective, it would be to my advantage to make myself familiar to as many different clinical sites and clinical directors as possible, and 4) other students deserved the delicious, dark chocoloate experience that this site had to offer, and having enjoyed it for one entire semester all to myself, it was time to move on and let someone else have it.
On some level, this was hearbreaking. Why throw yourself to the wolves if you don’t have to? But I guess on another level, this made sense to me, and the idea of going to a different site sunk deep within and took root, so that when it came time to discuss my integration placement with my professors, instead of saying very strongly, without hesitation “I absolutely, positively want to stay at the same site, thank you very much”, I said “I would be very happy to return to the same site I was at for IP, but I would understand if I was sent to a different site instead, and if it does turn out to be a different site, I’d like to request site A and site B”.

So, I left it up to my professors. Which is another way of saying I left it up to the gods, and just trusted that I would end up wherever I needed to be. And so, as it turns out, I am not returning to the same site where I did my IP rotation, and it sounds like the site that I am going to instead is indeed going to be very challenging. I’ve heard from other students that the midwives there are incredible and passionate, but also a little bit understaffed, and that they don’t always get to take as much time with their students as they would like. I’ve also heard that they have very high expectations for their students, and that if I don’t know something, I will be asked to go home that night, look it up, and return to them the next day with the information. Which is fine, I can certainly do that, and I would have done that on my own anyway, even without the prompting. I’ve heard from other students that they’re not always the most nurturing of midwives, but that you also learn a huge amount, and get to be a part of many, many beautiful births. And of course, this is all heresay. Who knows what it will be like; my experiences might be very different.
In any case, I’m keeping an open mind. I’ve been gearing myself up for a challenge. I’m prepared to work hard, prepared to be questioned, prepared to be critiqued. I’m sure I’m going to learn a TON at this new site, and I am very excited about it, but also very nervous. This will be quite a test for me, I have a feeling.

I’ll find out soon enough. My clinicals begin this coming saturday, bright and early.

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