Hardest part of Nurse-Midwifery

I remember a conversation with a nurse-midwife many months ago when I was deciding how to proceed with midwifery training. Her advice? Work for at least a year before beginning midwifery school. She explained that women will show up with bottles of prescription medications wanting her to tell them if they are safe in pregnancy. She felt at a disadvantage when she started as a midwife for not having a better grasp of many common medications.

Here I am, less than a month to the start of the new semester, with her words still ringing in my ears. As a nurse-midwife I will be primary care for women.  This means I need to understand how the medications they are taking will affect their whole health.  It means I need to understand what I would prescribe and why. And since I am doing the family nurse practitioner option, I cannot even focus on the most common medications for women.  I need to know the full spectrum of common medications from pediatric to geriatric.

I’ll be honest, I’m very nervous about pharmacology this semester. To begin with, there is no rhyme or reason for the naming of medications.  I cannot learn a pattern or trick, I just need to memorize the names.  Add to that the reality that I’ve never been a person who learns by memorization and you can begin to see my concern.

I really wish I could be one of those people who takes pharmacology in stride, but I’m not.  To some extent this is exactly who I am – I take everything seriously.  But on the other hand I don’t generally find my level of seriousness to be overwhelming like it feels when I think about this very difficult class. Usually I can take a deep breath, make a plan and do my best.  But with pharmacology I feel defeated before I ever start.

Nothing like a challenge to see who you really are, right?  So how am I responding to the challenge?  It is over three weeks to the start of the semester and I’m already making flashcards for the most common drugs and refreshing myself on the medications I learned in nursing school.  I’m reviewing the medications we learned about last semester and hoping repetition really will make a difference.

And this brings me to you.  As you think about your path into midwifery, what do you see as being the biggest obstacles and challenges? What can you do (or are you doing) to overcome those challenges?

Jennifer Vanderlaan (Author)