Katie is a second year midwifery student who came very close to dropping out in her first year of study. Solely reliant upon her own finances means that Katie has developed an incredibly strong work ethic, always supplementing her studies with part time work. However, the demands of the midwifery course and the requirement that students must not work whilst on placement – placements are typically around 40 hours per week – took away the capacity to fund her degree. It quickly became apparent that her student loan would not be enough to support her throughout her degree, just about covering the cost of rent but not money for travel, food, bills and vital course materials. Costs and the anxiety that goes with that began to spiral out of control. As Katie told us, “I had reached a point where, if I could not find money from somewhere, I would have no option but to leave my course.”
News of the Student Hardship Fund came at just the right time. Katie applied and received that all-important hardship grant. The award primarily helped Katie to pay her rent but it also provided her with the reassurance that she could afford her travel costs to and from her placement, and also to her lectures. A weight had been lifted from Katie’s shoulders and with the disappearance of the stress caused by financial worries, she was able to focus one hundred per cent on her studies and placement.
The immediate plan is for Katie to complete her BSc in Midwifery and to work in hospitals for a couple of years, rotating through different aspects of midwifery. This will give her further exposure to working with different patients and enable her to work up through the NHS career bands, closer towards one of her long-term goals of, perhaps, becoming a doctor. Furthermore, new ambitions are also being considered. A return to City to complete a Masters in Midwifery (Advanced Practice) and a longer-term view to undertake a PHD in Health Sciences in the area of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is an option. She is also passionate about working for Sands, a stillbirth and neonatal death charity. As Katie remarked, “I want to specialise in bereavement midwifery because I have had a friend who was affected by stillbirth and I think this is such a vital and often neglected area.”
Katie told us, “I am so grateful to those alumni and friends of the University who donate to the Hardship Fund. The difference you have made to me is basically the difference between dropping out or staying. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”