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Laura Paxton

BSc (Hons) Midwifery Practice

Laura Paxton chose the University of Sunderland to begin her journey studying for the BSc (Hons) Midwifery Practice as it offered modern teaching facilities, amazing placement opportunities, and the choice to stay close to home and her family. Her future career ambitions involve working within the perinatal mental health field of midwifery, as this subject matter is close to her heart.

I chose the University of Sunderland primarily due to its location, as being a mature student with family commitments, travelling far was not an option. However, after conducting my own research into what the University had to offer, I was blown away. The website offered the opportunity to read detailed and honest accounts from current and previous students.

I attended an Open Day where I was presented with a detailed introduction to the BSc (Hons) Midwifery Practice course. I was given the opportunity to look around the modern teaching facilities within Helen McArdle House, and dedicated time was given by lecturers to ask questions regarding application and course specifics. Another thing Sunderland offered which really stood out compared to other institutions was the embedded focus of perinatal mental health, and our own mental health and wellbeing, as students. The opportunity to work with the Patient, Carer and Public Involvement (PCPI) group was another positive aspect when choosing the University of Sunderland for my studies.

Before university, I worked part time at Asda which fitted nicely around raising my family. I was part of the volunteer team with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, assisting with the COVID-19 vaccinations. I also volunteered with PANDAS, who are a perinatal mental health charity, receiving calls and providing support to women and their families.

My own childbirth experience and the physiological and psychological changes that occurred 13 years ago was the catalyst behind my decision to embark on my midwifery career. I enrolled at Tyne Metropolitan College during my maternity leave and studied the HEFC Level 3 Access Course, studying part-time over two years.

After several years of working and gaining life experience, I headed back into education to continue towards my goal of becoming a midwife. I enrolled at Newcastle College University Centre back in September 2021, where I studied my CertHE Healthcare Practice Level 4. This choice of study at degree level allowed me to expand my foundation knowledge and clinical healthcare skills whilst restoring and strengthening my academic competence. It also allowed successful demonstration of my capabilities to effectively manage my time between studies and life commitments, which would be paramount when embarking on the BSc (Hons) Midwifery Practice course.           

It's still early days of my Midwifery degree, but up to now I'm enjoying every aspect of my learning journey. The balance of theory and clinical skills within these first few weeks at university has been positive and it's exciting to be able to put the evidence into practice. The 4-week observational placement I'm currently on has been an amazing experience. Being out in a community and hospital setting, supported by my personal supervisor, has allowed achievement of proficiencies through direct experiences.         

My advice to any prospective student looking to study at the University of Sunderland is to do your research and make sure you are 110% dedicated to your learning journey. The decision to embark on a degree is a big commitment and you want to make sure what the University has to offer tailors to your individual needs. Sunderland can offer you everything and more through the dedicated, supportive, and well-educated teaching staff within this institution. So, if you are reading this, no matter what your age, it's never too late to pursue your dreams – go for it!      

My future career aim once I qualify as a midwife, is to eventually specialise within the perinatal mental health field of midwifery, as this area of support for women and families lies close to my heart."

Published 2 November 2022

Find out more about Laura’s story by following her Instagram, where she documents her journey and achievements.

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