Monday, August 3, 2009

How to Score an Apprenticeship

This is the question most student midwives ask, worry and wonder about. How do I find someone to take me on as an apprentice?

So, here are my top 4 tips on how to score an awesome apprenticeship, or at least get your foot in the door.
Thanks to Flickr user pointnshoot for this image / CC BY 2.0
  1. Bring food. I'm only half-kidding, here. Midwives are usually busy women, and it seems like very few carve out a lunch hour on their clinic days. But if you call and ask if you can bring her lunch (or even breakfast before her first appointment) and talk to her about apprenticeship, it's like she gets to kill two birds with one stone. Ask what she likes. Burgers? Sushi? Homemade soup? Bring it to her. And show how much you understand the midwife lifestyle by including a "if you have a birth, don't worry about it, we can reschedule." She'll appreciate it.
  2. Emphasize the skills you have. This can be anything from having your NRP and CPR cert done already to a list of the workshops or classes you've completed, but focus on what you can do to help her. What do you know how to do? Even if you're a complete novice, have you answered phones in an office before? Are you bilingual? A whiz at filing? You're asking her to help you--show her how you can help her, too.
  3. Be honest about the skills you don't have. She knows you're a student, that's the point of this all. If she asks if you have done something you haven't before, or don't even know what it is, cop to it right up front because you sure don't want to get caught later in a lie that could put you, her and a client in a bad situation. If you don't want to keep saying, "I don't know how to do that" tell her (truthfully) what experience you do have. "I've seen it done a couple times, but was never taught how to do it myself" or "I've read about that, and would love to learn how."
  4. Ask good questions. Everybody likes to talk about themselves and what they're doing, PLUS asking thoughtful questions about the midwife and her practice shows her you a) care about what she thinks of things, b) are trying to see if you'd be a good fit for her practice and c) are the kind of student who thinks things out and asks good questions. If you think you'll get nervous, here are a couple questions to get you started:
  • "How did you get started midwifing?"
  • "What do you feel is the most important thing I can learn from my time with you?"
  • "When in labor do clients usually call you?"
That's what I've got. What's worked for you?

1 comment:

  1. When I decided I wanted to go into midwifery, I asked Melissa Mayo how she got started. She told me she just followed a midwife and kind of hung out doing whatever she could to lend a hand and eventually it progressed from there. So I followed her advice! I started (with permission of course) just coming to clinic and doing anything I could to lend a hand.

    Your tips are a huge part of that process though! Honestly, the huge one that a lot of newbies forget is that they have to bring something to the plate. If you are a novice and have never attended a birth as a doula, taught a childbirth class, have no skills for either office or clinical care, then it is vital you do that before you move into training to be a midwife. Midwives are busy ladies and put out so much energy. You don't ever want to just be a strain and drain on what little she has left over at the end of the day.