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Alumna, and award-winning midwife Gabriella Ireland offers help and advice

Alumna, and award-winning midwife Gabriella Ireland offers help and advice

We recently caught up with alumna Gabriella Ireland (2012 - 2017), who is now an award-winning Midwife. She told us all about her journey from St Mary's to delivering her 40th baby!

At St Mary’s I particularly enjoyed biology lessons and learning about the human body and its functions. I have always been interested in having a career in healthcare. As a result, during my time at St Mary’s I explored a variety of health-related career options.

St Mary’s supports its students when discovering career options and it soon became clear to me during these sessions and through my own research that I wanted to become a midwife. St Mary’s supported me in the next step enabling me to achieve the necessary qualifications to become a midwife and, although I was told by various people that midwifery is an extremely challenging course to get onto due to the vast number of applicants and limited spaces, I was so sure of my choice.

While studying for my A levels at Comberton, I built up as much experience as I could to help support my application. I volunteered at a children’s nursery, a baby massage class and joined the young person’s volunteer programme at a local NHS Trust.

I picked my top five universities based on the content of the course and current student's experiences. I was fortunate enough to get all of my offers and picked my first and second choices. When results day came around, I was one grade off the entry requirements for my top choice university. Initially I was upset that I hadn’t met the entry requirements, however looking back it wasn’t meant to be. My second choice was Anglia Ruskin; at the open day the current students couldn’t praise the course and lecturers enough! Once I had attended the applicant day and registered, I was so happy with my decision and couldn’t wait to commence my training as a student midwife. My time at University flew by, the support from the lecturers, mentors at my placement trust and fellow student midwives was amazing.

Training to be a midwife definitely has its highs and lows. Supporting mothers and their families and helping them bring their newborn baby into the world really is the best feeling! As a student you have more time to spend with the women and you can really make a difference to their care and have a positive impact on their experience.

Midwifery is a tough course, unpaid placements, long shifts alongside assignments and exams can be difficult at times, not forgetting the dissertation. However, the placement aspect of the course always reminded me of the reasons why I chose this career path.

One of the highlights of my midwifery degree was my 40th birth, the final baby I needed to "catch" in order to qualify! It was an amazing water birth where I was supported by my mentor. One of my colleagues and closest friends had this beautiful portrait painted for me as a graduation present of the 40th baby I helped into the world; it is something I will always treasure.

I am now working as a qualified midwife rotating around the different areas in maternity. When I started my degree I never imagined I would be working for the NHS during a global pandemic. Working throughout Covid-19 as a newly qualified midwife has been daunting at times, however the support from colleagues, friends and family has made it far easier!

My plans for the future are to continue working and building up experience as a hospital midwife.  One day I would love to progress into a more specialist role within midwifery. I believe I am very lucky to have a job I love so much and to have the privilege to care for women during pregnancy and birth.

I wouldn’t have got to where I am today without the guidance from St Mary’s. I was supported in my choices to take the steps to commence my training and I will always be grateful for that.

If you are a current student and are thinking of a career in Midwifery, please don’t hesitate to contact me through Alumnae Relations Officer Emma Hanbury