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For all its ups and downs, I will never forget 2016

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What are the events that you’ll remember from 2016? As she heads towards qualifying, student midwifery editor, Anna, puts into words how the past year has developed her professionally and personally

I am more mince pie/cheese board than I am student midwife right now. I congratulate you, fellow Christmas survivors, for finding the physical strength to open this blog as you lie, festering (festiving?) on the sofa.

I hope reading this will take five minutes from your eating routine to work up a hunger strong enough to conquer that last chocolate in the box (if there is a last chocolate in the box, you definitely are not reading this whilst on shift).

Christmas is a weird time to be a healthcare professional, let alone a student. All my feelings of happiness at the rare chance of some actual time off are mixed up in thinking of the impending deadlines, the multiplying bacteria, the packed wards, the lonely patients, and the ever moving workforce of the NHS soldiering on as normal.

“Surely there’s a dissertation out there somewhere, calling my name”

I can’t help feeling slightly guilty as I select my 7th episode of Grey’s; surely there’s a dissertation out there somewhere, calling my name. My ears are blocked with roast potatoes though, and I couldn’t remove myself from the sofa even if I wanted to.

Christmas is also an inevitable time of reflection, especially if you spend it in the social isolation that is Dorset. The clock ticking over from 23:59 to 00:00 on New Year’s Eve is nothing more than a feat of physics, but for some reason it makes us come over all sentimental, and we make weird promises to ourselves to not eat carbs for an entire month.

“We remember the year gone by, shed a little tear, raise our plastic wine glasses”

We remember the year gone by, shed a little tear, raise our plastic wine glasses, kiss whichever unfortunate thing is next to us, and move on.

But as I write my first blog of 2017, I feel there are a few things about the year behind me that I just can’t forget.

2016 was the year that I delivered twins.

It was the year I saw an embryo being implanted into a woman, and the year that I saw my first fetus.

It was the year that I saw a live kidney transplant, a donor organ collection, a hysterectomy, and a miscarriage.

It was the year that I passed my first OSCE.

It was the year that I questioned my career choice.

2016 was the year the Government decided to cut the NHS Bursary, and the year that the last grandparent in my family died.

It was the year that I watched a baby be taken into foster care, and the beginning of my last year as a student.

It was the year I watched colleagues crumble, and the year that I crumbled with them.

It was the year I campaigned against the privatisation of the NHS, and the year that I carried on.

It was the year that I delivered my 36th baby, and the year that I had the pleasure of caring for three women across the entirety of their pregnancies.

“Here’s to another year of rotating round the sun/the hospital”

Before this ends up being a replica of my personal diary, I’ll wrap up by saying that 2016 was pretty eventful across the board. It’s going to take more than a £7 bottle of wine to wipe that one out. I mean, I think we all deserve at least a £10 bottle of wine just for getting through it, and a £15 bottle to get us through the year ahead.

We could also do with a government that better prioritises healthcare, and maybe 3,500 more midwives, and a complete re-organisation of care.

Sounds ridiculous, I know, but it’s just a hunch.

In the mean time, however, we’ll have to stick with the £15 bottle and each other. I’ll raise my plastic glass to that. Here’s to another year of rotating round the sun/the hospital. Here’s to another year of strength, health, and happiness.

And, dare I say it, here’s to the year of qualifying.

So go on, give us your best 2017 (and please not your worst); we’ve already got your predecessor safely under our belts.

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