Mature student with young children not being accommodated by uni Watch

dlaiden
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Hi TSR, posting for my mum here.

She's just started as a mature student doing Midwifery; aside from me and my older siblings, she's got two of my young siblings ages 4 and 6. We were under the impression that she would be doing training shifts at the local hospital about a 20-min drive or 10-min bus ride from our house, meaning she is able to still fit her course around taking care of my younger siblings (the uni is completely aware that she has young children and is their sole carer).

However, she's been allocated shifts at a hospital which takes her 1.5 hours to get to on a good day, meaning she has to leave home at 7am, and takes her 2 hours to get back on a good day, meaning she gets home about 6pm, shortly before my little siblings go to bed. And this is before her shifts have even been given, including night shifts. Basically, this doesn't work for her, but so far when talking to the woman in charge of sorting out which midwife goes where she's been refused her request to transfer to the closer hospital, to transfer in the case of a dropout or to defer her place for next year. It's causing her a lot of stress, and to make things worse she's recently had an operation on her hand because she has trigger finger, and her doctor has told her she shouldn't really be driving (especially not to go to this other hospital). We're thinking of going to reporting this to the boss of the woman we've currently reported to, hoping the last thing in particular will help persuade them as the current situation is unsustainable.

Any advice?
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returnmigrant
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A Midwifery degree is an 'NHS job with training', it isnt like a 'normal' 3 year degree at a Uni, It will also involve night-shifts and weekend working. I'm surprised that this wasn't explained by the University.

It may be that the Uni isnt entirely aware of her circumstances, but whether or not they can accommodate these needs is entirely up to the Uni.
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dlaiden
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
A Midwifery degree is an 'NHS job with training', it isnt like a 'normal' 3 year degree at a Uni, It will also involve night-shifts and weekend working. I'm surprised that this wasn't explained by the University.

It may be that the Uni isnt entirely aware of her circumstances, but whether or not they can accommodate these needs is entirely up to the Uni.
It's not the night shifts and weekend working which are the problem. Not at all. She expected that and is fine with that, but tbh (perhaps unwisely) she expected this to occur at the closer hospital, where it isn't a problem because of how close it is to home. However, getting to the hospital further out is a problem, as she can't bus it (unlike the close one), she isn't supposed to drive and it takes what seems to us to be an unreasonable time getting there and back.
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CCC75
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Vocational based degrees, like the midwifery course, are reflective of the field of work. Midwifery includes various and often unsociable shifts plus allocated and varying locations. Many hospitals work in cluster groups and nurses/midwives can be rota'd to work anywhere within the cluster in accordancd with their employment contract.

I'm sorry that your mom is having a bad time of it at the moment. Is the current placement for a fixed period? If so, she could try to endure it and count down the weeks. If it's going to be a lengthy placement I would advise that she speak to her placement coordinator again.

The problem with complaining is that she will be reminded that the midwifery course is intensive and strenuous and was presented as such from the beginning. I would encourage negotiation rather than complaint for this reason. I hope she gets something worked out.
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LilBlueBug
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She really should have done her homework with this. It was midwifery I was looking at doing when I first decided to return to education. I spent well over a year investigating the degree and have been working within the birth communities for over 8 years...but still investigated everything.
I was told by one of the midwives who ran the course at a Uni which wasn't close to home, to make sure I could access all hospitals in the area that the University covered. Because they cannot guarantee a place close to home. It was this, complication of childcare, no drivers license and other factors which changed my decision on degree option.
The midwives who students are mentored by give their time to do so. Not all midwives will have the experience, time or opportunity to mentor each year. The Uni don't know how many they will have from each hospital they cover. So IMHO it would be ludicrous to complain over something they have limited control over.

Knowing she had this medical problem. Was it wise to start in the first place?

All that being said if she wants a more accurate view of it all. Perhaps she should try the midwifery forums? There is a massive one with thousands of midwifery students on it.
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ames123
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I would make the uni aware asap about the problem with her hand. Is the problem with the placement mentioned that she won't have childcare or that she won't see them before they go to bed? If it's the latter then I guess she would have to do it and as someone else says, count down until the end, when hopefully the next placement may be a little closer.
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Klix88
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I'm afraid your Mum may be on a bit of a hiding to nothing. A relative of mine did a nursing degree when her children were school-aged and was given very short-shrift by her uni. She was told that student nurses on placement were subject to the same working conditions as professional nurses, and that if she couldn't arrange her life to do the training, then she was probably at the wrong stage of her life for nursing. She managed it in the end, but she struggled even with a local placement. As a single parent she relied on her sisters and mother to help out with e.g. over night childcare, getting breakfast/tea for the kids, school runs, weekend childcare etc. If she hadn't had the family support, then she wouldn't have completed the degree.

As a side note, she's since left nursing, as the only jobs she'd been considered for at her local hospitals were in areas of nursing which she's not interested in. She wasn't prepared to move to get work as the kids were settled in their schools and she wanted to stay near her close family.
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dlaiden
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(Original post by CCC75)
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(Original post by LilBlueBug)
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(Original post by ames123)
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(Original post by Klix88)
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Thanks everyone for the comments; they were all helpful. She's talked to them again, and we've basically decided to just see how the first term goes, as she does have some support from my sister (17; I have a lot of siblings) and my younger siblings' dad, as well as friends who can pick them up sometimes and after-school day care. Also, her schedule seems to be somewhat workable - we'll see how it's going after the first term. The uni has said that if she gets through the first term, then she can go on 'leave' for a year and hope to be transferred to another hospital next year, but we're trying to avoid this and manage work + my siblings as best as we can. Thanks everybody.
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Klix88
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I wish her the best of luck. I've seen how tough the course and conditions can be - I hope it works out for her.
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Howard
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How about if the NHS simply moves the hospital closer to where your mum lives so it'll be a bit more convenient for her?
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Longshlong
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(Original post by Howard)
How about if the NHS simply moves the hospital closer to where your mum lives so it'll be a bit more convenient for her?
Comedian
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Pretty please
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(Original post by Howard)
How about if the NHS simply moves the hospital closer to where your mum lives so it'll be a bit more convenient for her?
How rude


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