Michaela Douma undertook a placement at the birthing centre in Penrith as part of her university studies. She joined in the midst of the pandemic and has shared her story about her positive learning experience:

Michaela said:

“I am a second year midwifery student at the University of Cumbria and I had an overwhelming desire to help the teams that I hope to work alongside when I qualify next year during the pandemic. 

I was giving the opportunity to do a work placement with Penrith Birth Centre and as soon as I started I was welcomed and treated as a valued member of the team. All of the team have supported and encouraged my learning which has meant I have continued to benefit as a student from a wide range of antenatal and postnatal care experiences.

Due to Covid-19, maternity services have had to make a number of changes to the way care is delivered which includes asking women to attend appointments and ultrasound scans alone. This can understandably create some anxiety and fear for the women who are often going through one of the most special times in their lives and one that they want to share with their partners, family and friends. During my time at Penrith, I have been able to offer support and build up good relationships to ensure the women feel comfortable to attend their antenatal care alone but still feel supported.

This placement has highlighted to me just how important continuity of care is and the difference it can make to a woman and her family during their pregnancy. When I become a qualified midwife, I really hope to be able to split my working time equally between a community setting and a hospital setting so that I can offer some continuity for the women in my care but also maintain the range of skills I have and continue to develop as a student midwife.

It is an absolute honour and privilege to be a midwife and a career choice I’d encourage anyone thinking of becoming a midwife, to go ahead and achieve.”

Amanda Kennett, Associate Director Of Midwifery, said:

We are so thankful to have students like Michaela and to have them work with us. They really make an invaluable contribution to the service and to women and babies.

Currently there are 5 student midwives at West Cumberland Hospital and 7 at Cumberland Infirmary and Penrith Birth Centre. They have all been working through the COVID-19 pandemic alongside the maternity team.


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