Fenwick J, Hammond A, Raymond J Surviving, not thriving: a qualitative study of newly qualified midwives' experience of their transition to practice. J Clin Nurs. 2012; 21:(13-14)2054-2063

Hughes AJ, Fraser DM. ‘SINK or SWIM’: the experience of newly qualified midwives in England. Midwifery. 2011; 27:(3)382-386

Six months qualified

02 August 2019
Volume 27 · Issue 8


Student midwives need not fear life as a qualified midwife. Claire Axcell talks about becoming more independent, building your confidence, and finding your ‘midwifery crush’

Each day at work, I introduce myself: ‘Hello, my name is Claire. I'm one of the midwives and I'm going to be looking after you today.’ This is something I say all the time; however, there is still a mental pause before the word ‘midwife’, where I have to remind myself that I'm no longer a student. It still slips out occasionally, if I'm being honest.

Studies into newly qualified midwives' transition from student to qualification show common themes, demonstrating that it is a time of anxiety; that they feel out of their depth (Hughes and Fraser, 2011); and that the work environment can either help them to thrive or cause them to struggle, depending on their experience (Fenwick et al, 2012).

I will admit that I spent the first few months of being qualified mentally holding on for dear life. I had moved to a new unit, knew hardly anyone and was trying to consolidate my own practice as well as pick up the new unit's quirks.

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