Posted Thursday 17 December 2009
Midwifery students at Kingston University and St George's, University of London certainly have talent. That was the verdict of Britain's Got Talent star Amanda Holden after she spent a day learning about life as a student midwife for a programme on ITV1.
The hour-long show, 'Out Of My Depth', that aired on 14 December, followed Amanda as she spent five weeks learning about the role of the midwife. The programme culminated in Amanda assisting in the delivery of a baby.
Most of the filming was done at West Middlesex University Hospital but the team also chose to spend a day with midwifery students from the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences. The faculty is run jointly by Kingston University and St George's, University of London.
Amanda had a one-to-one tutorial with lecturer Georgina Sims, who taught her about the mechanism of labour, followed by a class with a group of first year students on the three-year BSc (Hons) midwifery course. The class, led by Georgina, included role plays where Amanda donned a pregnancy apron to pretend to be an expectant mother.
Amanda, 38, whose three-year-old daughter Lexi was born by caesarean section, said: "At drama school I hated improvisation classes but it was brilliant doing role plays, pretending to be a pregnant woman or a midwife. You learn such a lot and it was really nice remembering the feeling of having a bump."
She was surprised that the students had so much practical experience just seven months into their course. "I'm amazed that some of them had already done up to 12 deliveries, and are expected to do up to 40 over the three years."
She added: "I'm finding it easy to learn because I'm enjoying it so much. There's a lot to learn in a short period of time but I'm taking it very seriously because I need to be up to scratch if I want to be able to deliver a baby."
Although she enjoyed the experience of learning about midwifery, she will not be giving up her career as an actress. "It's a fantastic experience but I'm not sure I want to become a midwife. I'm a mummy and I already have a day job which I love."
But, most importantly of all, have Kingston and St George's students got talent? "Yes, absolutely. I can see why the students want to become midwives, they've all got that no nonsense and practical approach combined with a loving, calm, caring quality."
Ms Sims said the group lesson aimed to show the importance of communication skills. "The point of the lesson was to get the students and Amanda to think about how midwives talk to a woman and work with her to give her choices."
After the lesson Amanda spent time chatting to the students in the coffee bar. Mother-of-five Vanessa Roberts, who worked as a maternity assistant for nine years before joining the degree course, said: "We had a great time filming with Amanda and I hope we make the university proud of its student midwives. It was a great opportunity and we even got an extra lesson out of it."
Bejal Amin, 23, from Sevenoaks in Kent, said: "Amanda was very down to earth and friendly and she picked things up very quickly, especially the mechanics of labour." Bejal said the lesson was a fairly typical one, adding that one of the reasons she had chosen to study at Kingston was because the course offered more teaching and less self study than some universities.
Find out more about midwifery and child health courses.