Your first step to achieve this incredible career, is applying for a midwifery degree course via UCAS.
According to UCAS there are 52 different providers of midwifery courses in the UK. So how do you decide which courses to apply for?
Research, research, research
Research is key. Investigate the entry requirements you will need for each of the university midwifery courses as they differ by individual institution.
Decide if there is a specific location in the country you’d like to live. Remember you’ll be studying full time for at least 3 years (or up to 6 years if you study part-time) for a midwifery degree with about 50% of your course time spent out and about in health care settings and not in the university itself. You may want to look at what health care settings are offered to you on the specific course.
It’s vital that if you have a short list of 2 to 3 universities that you’d like to study at, that you go and visit all of them on Open Days and have a tour around the facilities and talk to the tutors on your course.
How you relate to your tutors and the quality of their teaching is as important as where you’ll be living. If you really can’t make an Open Day visit (it is worth making the effort, I promise), a secondary option is phoning up the university to speak to the tutors and asking them as many questions about the course as you can.
A fantastic location, awesome tutors and a cool course will inspire you to greatness but also check what the employment prospects and success rates are for graduates from your courses.
League table comparisons
League tables (love them or hate them, they do at least provide comparisons) show that the best universities in the UK for midwifery differ depending on which league table you choose.
For example the top 5 for WhatUni.com (based on hundreds of actual real-life student reviews) are Swansea University, University of Surrey, Bangor University, University of East Anglia and Cardiff University in that order.
However The Guardian rankings for Midwifery (based on student feedback, NSS (National Student Survey) results, entry requirements, graduate employment rates and staff to student ratios), show the top 5 for 2016 as University of Glasgow, University of Edinburgh , University of Liverpool, Keele University and University of Huddersfield.
Other league tables for midwifery also worth comparing include The Complete University Guide, The Times Good University Guide (please note you will need a subscription to the Times Newspaper to view this) and Unistats, the official government site for comparing universities in the UK.
As you can imagine the top midwifery courses are immensely oversubscribed, therefore a ‘stand out UCAS application (especially the all-important personal statement) is an absolute must. Focus on 3 to 5 key points within your personal statement and don’t forget you can only write a maximum of 4,000 characters.
i. What work experience can you relate to midwifery, even if your volunteering or work experience hasn’t been in this setting (and this will be the norm for most people). Does it encompass working with people and customer communication or teamwork skills? These are all key attributes for a midwife as well as health skills.
ii. Show that you know midwifery is much more than just delivering babies; from all stages of a pregnancy to post-natal care.
iii. Why do you want to be a midwife? Try to make your answer as honest and specific as possible and not generic. This is about you and your experiences.
iv. Can you show empathy and how to manage stressful experiences? Again these are essential characteristics for a midwife.
v. You will be dealing with people across a whole range of faiths, religions, races, ages etc so demonstrate how you can be inclusive, understand diversity and be non-judgmental.
For more useful personal statement advice it’s worth referring to Studential’s E-Book on writing your Nursing Personal Statement.
This really is the year you should seize the day and apply for Midwifery. Most universities for 2016 entry have course fees for midwifery funded by the NHS via NHS bursaries. However the government is proposing removing these NHS bursaries for midwifery courses from 2017 entry and introducing new student loans.