5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Midwifery School

midwifery class


A Reflection After My First Quarter

I just completed my first quarter of midwifery school and it was amazing, inspirational, and a bit challenging at times. In this blog, I will be sharing a few tips to help future midwifery students have a smoother transition into midwifery school!

1. Be nice to everyone you interact with

This may seem obvious, but prior to arriving, I did not fully grasp how small the Bastyr student body and staff really is! When I first arrived on campus and called the security office to notify them that I had arrived and was ready to move in, the security guard responded, “Oh, you must be Rachel! Be right there.” It turns out, I was the only person planning to move in on that day, but it still surprised me that they had already learned my name before even meeting me! There are only a few people that each handle campus security, library, registrar, the bookstore, etc. so being friendly right off the bat is a great way to quickly feel immersed in campus life and get off on the right foot with everyone. Similarly, many professors teach multiple courses, so being respectful and present in every classroom can be a great way to be on good terms with your professors and start building that relationship early (hello future references and job opportunities!!). 

2. Get your cohort’s contact information and make a group chat ASAP

Sharing phone numbers and school email addresses was a life saver for my cohort. As people were learning how to use Canvas, having a group chat all together was a great way to support each other by sending reminders of upcoming assignments, notifying each other if we were running late, or if you have any questions about an assignment. It also facilitated cohort bonding, which is super important because you will be growing and supporting each other for the next three years!

3. Get the OTHER cohorts’ contact information ASAP as well

The midwifery cohorts can become a pretty tight knit group, and the upperclassmen want to be there to support you! Whether it’s advice on how to get through certain classes, sharing PDFs of online textbooks, advice on which books are worth buying versus renting, talking about different preceptor sites, or navigating situations within your cohort- being able to get in contact with the upperclassmen can be another great resource. They can also just be great friends to have, and could end up being colleagues or business partners in the future!! 

4. Get used to having short nails, and definitely have them short at your first onsite

In healthcare in general, it’s advisable to have short, clean nails to limit places bacteria can fester. Especially for midwives and midwifery students, it is mandatory to have short nails for our models’ and future clients’ safety and comfort during pelvic and breast exams. While you may want to look best at your first onsite, I strongly recommend not investing in acrylics or any long nail style because you will need to get them removed to participate in your first onsite’s skills lab. For midwifery students, “short” means that when you flip your hand around, you can’t see any of the nail. Most of us have learned to cut them, then file them down until no white is showing and they become dull. While this is an easy change to make, the last thing you want to have happen is get to the skills lab and have a classmate or model refuse to let you practice on them because your nail length makes them uncomfortable, which can happen.

5. Make a schedule and stick to it

With a lot of our education being remote and asynchronous, it is important to have self-discipline to complete all assignments and readings in a timely manner, and still leave time for work, family time, or whatever makes you happy. Depending on your personal life and lifestyle, this can mean different things to different people, but figure out what works for you and stick to it! Some things that worked great for people in my cohort was to add the Canvas calendar to our Google Calendar, completing all our homework assignments in Google Drive which we organized by class, and having a calendar or planner (paper or online- whichever you’ll actually use!). 

Want to start chatting with current midwifery students? Reach out to one of our student ambassadors from the midwifery program to learn more! 

I hope this list helps you feel more prepared to take on your first quarter of midwifery school. 

About the Author:

Rachel Wright is a first year midwifery student in Kenmore, WA. She believes that it is every birthing person’s right to feel emotionally, spiritually, and physically safe and supported during their pregnancy and birth experience. Her clinical interests include prenatal nutrition, vaginal seeding, and trauma-informed care.