Anna Mary Oyet, student, Midwifery

Anna Mary Oyet has strong ambitions, and even stronger motivations. Already trained as a nurse, she decided to retrain in midwifery after realising the differences she could make in her home country in Africa. Her cousin, who is a traditional birth attendant in the area, was a big influence in her choice. Traditional birth attendants support women giving birth; they are highly experienced, but have little formal medical knowledge.

“I realised that although I already had experience in nursing, I could add something to it that could really help women.” There are several reasons why women are unable to access care during their pregnancies, with transport, equipment and education being just a few. Anna Mary wants to set up a maternity clinic to help these women and make an impact on the worrying birth mortality statistics in the area.

Even with her experience as a nurse, she found her hospital placement to be an important part of her midwifery training. “The theory sounds so easy,” she explains, “but when a situation is before you it’s quite different, it’s real life. A hospital placement helps you to do the work yourself, rather than just talk about it.”

Working with other midwives was another important source of support that helped to build her confidence; “when you work with so many different midwives you can pick up a lot of good practises, and out of that build your own.”

Still mindful of her goal of setting up a clinic, in her final year of midwifery training Anna Mary decided to do the elective placement in enterprise at LSBU to understand how to make her vision a reality. On the placement, she listened to a variety of speakers and worked on a business model with other training midwives.

“The placement gave me all this knowledge and from that I was able to break down what I want to do, and where I can start.” She learnt how to take practical small steps within her goals, and how to consider ideas from different angles. It also allowed her to talk to a midwife who had already worked in Africa; providing connections and advice going forward.

“I really wanted to know something that midwifery offers other than the hospital bit, where you can build your world within midwifery. You remain a midwife, but you expand your services.”

As she learnt about entrepreneurial skills, she realised many of them were already familiar to her. When discussing an idea for an app to describe the benefits of breastfeeding to pregnant women, she remembered countless times talking to women about the exact same thing. “In your day-to-day life you use some of these skills without knowing they fall under entrepreneurship. But the placement allowed us to think more in-depth. When you think about the skills behind it, you can create things that can help even more women than the ones you are in touch with.”

Anna Mary has just completed her training and intends to spend some time building up her knowledge and skillset. After that, she is determined to set up her clinic. She has already acquired two acres of land in her home country, in an area that covers several rural districts with poor medical access for women. “I really wanted it to have a beginning. This is the biggest step – the rest will follow.”

Next, she needs to sort out finances. But no challenge seems too large for her to conquer.

“It’s a big goal. But I think when you are determined to do something you start small, and you get there. I’m going to be able to do it.”

To find out more about the Midwifery enterprise placement, or entrepreneurial skills and starting a business, get in touch with LSBU’s Student Enterprise team.

Written by Amber Sams, a second year Journalism student.

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