I chose Sunderland University primarily due to location, as being a mature student with family commitments, travelling far was not an option for myself. 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 the university open day, where I was presented with a detailed introduction into the BSc (Hons) Midwifery Practice programme by Helen McAdam, who is a senior lecturer and admissions tutor. 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 aspect offered by Sunderland which really stood out, compared with 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 also another positive aspect when deciding on the University of Sunderland for my study.
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 Tynemet college during my maternity leave and studied the HEFC Level 3 Access Course, studying part time over the next 2 years. After several years of working, gaining life experience and completing my family, I headed back into education to continue the pursuit 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 myself 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 Midwifery programme.
It is early days within my Midwifery degree with only starting in September 2022, but up to now I am 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 is exciting to be able to put the evidence into practice. The 4-week observational placement I am currently on has been an amazing experience, being out in the 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 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. The University of Sunderland can offer you all that 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, you are never too late to pursue your dreams, go for it!
My future career aims once qualified as a midwife, is to eventually specialize 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