Guest blog by Alicia Burnett, Student Midwife at the University of West London and #150Leaders student, describes her contribution to the Covid-19 pandemic as part of our #UniHealth campaign.
In my second year of midwifery training I was tasked with writing about a co-morbidity that impacts upon pregnancy and midwifery care. I chose to write about sickle cell anaemia and the grade I received encouraged me to get it published in The Student Midwife, an online journal edited by student midwives and owned by All4Maternity. My article appeared in an issue of The Student Midwife (TSM) that was launched during the 2019 Royal College of Midwives conference. I was now a published author and did not want to stop there, so when I was invited onto the TSM editorial board I jumped at the chance! And when the departing co-editor asked me to be her successor, I was equally enthusiastic!
Following the introduction of the NMC emergency standards, I had to make the difficult decision to opt-out of clinical practice. The sequelae of this decision was uncertainty about the future of my midwifery education and guilt about my inability to be on the frontline. Yet although I knew that other student midwives were experiencing similar thoughts and feelings, there was little media coverage about the impact of the pandemic on student midwives or their role in the fight against Covid-19, so I decided to change that. I reached out to Sheena Byrom and Anna Coonan-Byrom, the owners of TSM, and pitched the concept of my Student Leadership Programme project: a blog on the All4Maternity website dedicated to student midwives’ accounts of how the novel coronavirus affected their personal lives and midwifery education, and The Covid-19 Cohorts blog was born!
The Covid-19 pandemic is a global phenomenon, therefore it was important to reflect the experiences of student midwives from all over the world, so with Sheena’s help and some creative advertising on social media, I sourced submissions from Uganda, Greece, Iran, the Republic of Ireland, England and Rwanda. Editing each submission unearthed an unexpected finding — each account of COVID-19’s impact on students’ lives and education, irrespective of the author’s geographical location, highlighted shared themes: home-schooling, uncertainty about the future, anxiety, remote learning and an unyielding passion for midwifery were re-occurring motifs within the submissions. In spite of our distance from one another, the pandemic was imposing shared experiences upon each of us, and The Covid-19 Cohorts blog provided an accessible platform for us to share them with each other and the world.
I wish to thank each author for their brave and authentic story-telling and All4Maternity for their unwavering support. The Covid-19 Cohorts blog is freely available on all4maternity.com.
Read the blog series on the All4maternity Student Midwife blog