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Reflection of Assistant Experiences

January-April 2018
CLNC 2010
Katlyn Carter
April 12, 2018

Reflection of Assistant Experiences

The past three months training as a student midwife and birth assistant have been great

and humbling and a time of growth for me all wrapped into one. I feel I spent the first part of the

trimester stumbling and fumbling through simple things like vitals. I didn’t expect this, as I am

normally a pretty confident person. I have seen myself grow much more comfortable as I got to

know clients, equipment, and the routine. I have learned to ask questions, whether in the moment

or afterwards. I think this has greatly helped with my learning style. I like to talk through things

with my hands touching things. I have received positive feedback from clients regarding this.

They like to know what I’m experiencing, what I’m looking for, and what that means (talking

specifically about abdominal palpation).

One simple thing that I have found challenging is taking blood pressures. I sometimes

have a hard time hearing the beats. This has led to much frustration on my part. I feel like I

NEED to know my vitals are accurate, and I need to know my preceptor has confidence in my

vitals. My preceptor and I have done some trouble-shooting, and I’m making a concentrated

effort to be accurate every time I take a blood pressure.

My very first birth with my preceptor and another midwife I had never worked with,

ended up being a moderate shoulder dystocia. I was very new and hadn’t had much time to learn

what, exactly, my role was, but I DID know it was my job to keep time. At this birth, that was

exactly the thing I messed up. I learned how adrenaline affects me. I learned a lot of things I did

well, including setting up an IV, having resuscitation equipment readily available, transfer plans

in place, and generally, being aware of what was going on. I received great feedback from my

preceptor and have made progress at each subsequent birth. I hope to continue making progress

is my charting skills, as well.

I have met a lot of the goals I set at the beginning of the trimester including the


 Perform a complete abdominal assessment including fundal height, lie, position, and
presentation (3.42)
 Assess fetal growth using manual measurements (3.43)
 Better monitor progress and chart progress of labor (4.29)
 Inspect the placenta and membranes for completeness (4.47)
 Assess immediate condition of the newborn (6.17)
 Promote and maintain normal newborn body temp (6.18)
 Begin emergency measures for respiratory distress, hypothermia, hypoglycemia (6.19)
(Skill numbers from Skills Competency Form for Phase 2)

I have loved learning abdominal assessment and belly mapping. I have received good

feedback from clients in my skill and including them in the process. Assessing fetal growth with

a measuring tape is challenging because some of it is subjective, but I am getting better each

week. I feel I learn more and more about assessing the progress of labor with each birth I attend

(both as a doula and as an assistant). I have loved learning more about placentas and enjoy giving

clients a “tour” of the organ that grew their baby after birth. I am learning to assess the

immediate condition of the newborn. I have really focused on this (as situations have allowed),

as I find it as fine line between the-baby-is-quietly-coming and the-baby-isn’t-quite-with-us.

Watching babies make the transition is truly amazing, and I am honored each time I get to

witness it. I have much respect for this process while also acknowledging when our help is


Overall, I am pleased with my progress as a student in clinic and student/assistant at

births. I feel I have grown a lot in feeling more comfortable with myself and my knowledge. I

have found areas to improve on. I recognize I have many, many things left to learn, and

recognize my personal growth and improvement.