for midwifery offer holders
when the excitement of the fact that I was going to really be a student midwife died down, one of the very first things that I did was search online for what I needed to buy.
the problem with 'student midwife essentials' lists are that they are honestly endless, and they vary an awful lot.
so instead, you can view our melissa's midwifery wish-list; which lists your classic student midwife essentials and talks a little bit about them. This way, you are able to make up your own mind about what you want to purchase; but hopefully, hearing from a current student midwife will help you in making your decisions - although we won't be telling you which items are 'must-haves' and which are no-goes.
melissa's midwifery wish-list
for midwifery offer holders
this seems like it's stating the obvious, but bare with me for just a moment.
black pens are more complicated than they seem. I have known some student midwives purchase some beautiful pens that have things engraved onto them, or that just generally write incredibly well.
but before you make an expensive purchase, you have to know that people steal black pens.
there! I said it!
all joking aside, people genuinely do steal black pens - not that they all mean to, but it's very easy to simply borrow a pen from someone and then forget to return it, especially when you're working long shifts and are balancing a heavy workload.
in terms of affordable black pens, I much prefer the zebra z-grip ballpoint pens compared to your classic bic ballpoints. I generally feel that the colour of the zebra pens tend to be much darker and generally look nicer when writing in women's notes.
due to people wanting to borrow your pens whilst on shift - and at university - I do recommend taking a few with you, and keeping the spares tucked inside your pocket, away from prying eyes!
there are some really beautiful notebooks available to purchase, and it can honestly be a huge decision knowing where to purchase from.
I have a varied taste in notebooks, although there are some features that I particularly like - plain(ish), simple, pastel, thick and light. It isn't always easy to tick all of those boxes.
my most treasured notebook is my arc notebook from staples, which you may see me posting a lot of pictures of my notes in on instagram. It's absolutely beautiful; not only is it light-weight and easy to carry round, it also comes in several different colours and sizes. This particular notebook is my favourite due to the fact that you are able to remove pages from it and place them wherever you like - so, if you have a lecture on type 1 diabetes and then don't have your lecture on type 2 diabetes until a few weeks later, have no fear! You can just move all of those notes around. Cool, right?
if you're looking for personalised stationery, then I particularly love martha brook, which is where I ordered my personalised 'student midwife melissa' and 'perinatal mental health' notebooks from.
I have a feeling that this one may get a little bit controversial, but it's just my opinion!
you may have seen on my instagram that I have a littmann stethoscope that my partner gifted to me when I started my course. because of this, it's something that has a sentimental value for me; he had my name engraved into it, and I really do love it.
however, it isn't something that I believe a student midwife 'must have'. Whilst this can obviously be heavily dependent upon your hospital trust, in my experience, there are plenty of stethoscopes for you to access upon hospital wards, so you don't really need to be carrying your own.
out of habit, I do leave mine in my bag - just in case - but I have to admit that I very rarely use it. When I was first learning how to measure blood pressure, I usually used my mentor's stethoscope; and as a second year, it's something that I tend to do independently, so I just use whatever stethoscope is available to me.
the problem with taking your own stethoscope onto placement with you is that they aren't usually cheap, and can very easily be lost, borrowed and not returned, or even stolen.
it's genuinely not that I don't think you'll use it, but it's also not something that I feel you have to spend £70+ on.
I absolutely adore my knitted boobs!
I purchased them from mama V's knitting - you can find her on facebook and instagram - although if you look on the secret community for midwives in the making on facebook, you may be able to find other people who knit and sell boobs.
knitted boobs are loved for their help when providing breastfeeding support to women, whether that be at antenatal classes, or whilst in a birthing room or on the postnatal ward. I find them particularly useful when demonstrating the technique for hand expression.
the great thing with knitted boobs is that they aren't so easy to disappear; a) because of their size, and b) because you can have your initials knitted onto the base of them!
whether it be models of the pelvis, fetal skull, or of a baby in utero - do you really need a model?
the answer is probably not. However, I must admit that I really like my model of the pelvis; I especially found it useful when preparing for my exam, and I needed to be able to label a diagram of the pelvis. I have also found it incredibly useful when visualising the mechanisms of labour.
nevertheless, these models will - most likely - be available for you to experiment with at your university, and therefore it's hardly necessary that you spend a lot of money purchasing them.
you can sometimes find them cheaper on facebook groups, particularly around August and September when some student midwives are finishing their degrees and are therefore selling an awful lot of their 'old' things.
I feel pretty strongly about this one - that student midwives do need a diary, but whether you actually have to purchase one is an entirely different matter!
whilst I prefer to write things down and be able to physically look on paper at what I am doing, other people prefer to use apps on their phone in order to input what they are doing and when.
there are several free apps available for iPhone's and android phones where shift workers are able to input their shifts into a calendar so that they can easily see what they are working and when. On some of these apps, you can even see what shifts your friends are working, so long as they are happy to share that information with you; and this naturally makes planning activities with your fellow student midwives much easier.
there are some diaries available that are specifically tailored to student midwives. I use a diary that I purchased from the happy planner company which also includes a log for placement hours, space for a reading list, an area to plan your meals and a cervical dilatation chart, to name but a few. however, it's absolutely not necessary to have to purchase one of these midwifery-specific planners: any old diary will do, to be honest!
this is also another potentially controversial item on my wish-list, but if I'm being completely honest, I really don't think that you need to purchase a lot, if any, books before you start your course.
it's best to see what your university recommends. Many universities now have online libraries, where a huge amount of books, articles and journals are available to access - for free - by simply using your student log in. Therefore, these books are so accessible without you having to go and physically check them out from anywhere, which is a win-win situation for a lot of people.
there are a few books that I have personally purchased for a few different reasons. If it is a book that I believe is a 'go-to' for me - one that I refer to often - then I purchase it. For example, I recently purchased medical disorders in pregnancy: a manual for midwives for this reason. However, I definitely wouldn't buy books willy-nilly!
you can check out my reading list here to see what books I recommend reading; however, I don't advise buying them all - instead, see if you can access them for free on your university library.