10000 hours to become a good midwife?

Learning to be a midwife is really hard. I had been warned the second year of training was difficult but I don’t think I realised what people meant until placement began only days after the exam we had been studying for for the last 8 weeks, and suddenly there was shift work to contend with whilst meeting new people, learning new systems, and applying our 8 weeks of 2nd year teaching on high risk pregnancy into actually caring for people. I am struggling to understand how other midwifery students are enjoying this experience, and it is really hard to feel like I don’t completely suck, as I wonder how it’s possible for me to be trying so hard to be good at this whilst still making so many mistakes and still knowing so little.

But then today I remembered the idea that it takes 10000 hours of practice to become truly good at something. And it made me feel slightly better about how much I still have to learn even though I am already half way through my first placement of my second year. If I count up all the hours of midwifery practice I have had since the start of my course, I’ve clocked up 635. Even if I add in all the time spent studying in and out of university (an extra 1050 hours), that’s still only 1685 hours. 1685/10000 – that’s less than a fifth of the way there. I won’t hit the 10000 hour mark until I have not only finished my degree but been practicing as a qualified midwife for a few years.

Giving myself that as a timescale makes me feel less like I have to be brilliant at this right now, and more like every hour I spend trying to be better is taking me closer to the point where I can actually do this.

Which is a comforting thought when I find myself thinking several times a shift that I just *can’t* do this.


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