The hospital is a necessary learning environment for a midwifery student. You will learn the technical procedures that are essential to the profession (vaginal examination, blood sampling, infusion therapy, sondage, hygiene, sterility, etc.). It is also the place where you learn to work together with other healthcare providers: gynaecologists, neonatologists, paediatricians, anaesthetists, etc. Because of the large flow of patients in the obstetric departments, as a student you will see many different situations; especially medical complications, which we need to be able to recognise quickly as a midwife.

The hustle and bustle in the hospital is a great opportunity for students to practice and perform certain procedures. The pace in the hospital is always high. This also means that the working days can be tiring: you often have the feeling that you are constantly busy, there is often stress and the hospital staff does not always have time to supervise students. As a student you have to manage with short explanations, dry communication and little feedback. In these circumstances, all kinds of actions are carried out, but the human aspect is sometimes missed. This can lead to a bad experience for patients. Moreover, it is not a good example to give to students.

In addition to the high number of patients, the hospital also has a large number of students who come and go through the various departments. This is probably not easy for hospital staff; it tends to go no further than the minimum effort required to work together. Contact between caregivers and students is often difficult, sometimes giving students the impression that they are “part of the walls” and not considered as individuals.

Within a smaller structure, such as a midwife practice, the human aspect is clearly very present. Patients who turn to this care demand a global and respectful approach. Here, as a student, you do not learn to refine your actions, but observe the importance of the quality of relationships, learn to respect informed consent in care, and how to give clear and complete information to the couples so that they can make an informed decision.

I experienced that in an independent practice, midwives communicate with both students and patients in an interested and truthful way. As a student I was welcomed in a pleasant way: there was real interest in my background and experience. In addition, my tasks were organised and appreciated (a workplace was provided, I was consulted, introduced to patients as a future colleague, my achievements were recognised and appreciated). This relational well-being plays an important role in the learning process. I felt comfortable to ask questions and to participate in reasoning and reflection and to give advice. As a student and novice midwife, I feel encouraged and supported by the team. I think the most important thing is that when mutual respect is an important value, the student has the opportunity to be inspired by a true profession.