Hello! My name is Jess, and I’m a Midwife working on the South coast of England. I was a student at the University of Surrey between 2017 and 2020 and on qualifying I joined an NHS hospital trust near where I live.
Before I was a Student Midwife, I worked at a large high street chemist as an electrical beauty consultant (think electric toothbrushes, shavers, hairdryers, etc!). I enjoyed a lot of things about that job – the colleagues, working with the public. I got married to Andy – a Police Sergeant – and life was good. I wanted more though! I had always wanted to work in healthcare and originally wanted to be a Paramedic, but wasn’t sure I could deal with some of the things that a Paramedic has to face… Being a Midwife was for me!
The problem was, I didn’t have the right qualifications… I had studied humanities rather than sciences. I was lucky enough to be able to go back to college to do an Access to Healthcare Professions course which got me all of the credits I needed to apply for university. While doing the course I was pregnant and went into labour the day I handed in my final coursework. Noah came along! I was fortunate to be able to take a couple of years of being Mummy, during which I applied for university, got rejected, volunteered at my local maternity unit, applied again for university and got an offer from Surrey! Then Andy got cancer… the NHS saved his life and we are eternally grateful. It was a hard six months and I started university while he was in his final round of chemotherapy, but we got there (and he’s now a couple of years into remission!).
I won’t lie… I found university hard. Lectures just didn’t do it for me, though I loved placements doing the actual job. One day I was sitting writing up my notes on fetal circulation, wondering how on earth all this human physiology and anatomy would stay in my easily distracted brain. My Papa was an artist – a calligrapher – as was my Nanny who was a botanical illustrator. I’d never really done art, but I started drawing… and I kept drawing.
At the end of March 2018, I created an Instagram page which would incorporate all of those revision drawings. It seemed such a shame to write and draw diagrams that only I would use. I also realised that if they were stored in this way I could take them anywhere I wanted and still be able to revise and look at them if I had the odd minute whilst out and about. Student Midwife Studygram was born!
It turns out I love drawing. I had no idea anatomical art excited me so much until the day I drew my first placenta. I’ve become increasingly passionate about these extraordinary organs and on my first week of placement I even got called up to labour ward to see a succenturiate lobed placenta. I could not wait to get home and interpret what I had seen on paper. My drawings are now becoming my way of therapeutically interpreting things I have witnessed and experienced on my ward placements. Some people write, some people talk, apparently I draw!
My Instagram page grew and grew and then it branched out to Facebook… people started asking if they could buy copies of drawings. One thing led to another and we launched a website to sell the first printed copies of those hand drawn pictures, printed by a friendly local printing firm. Andy is the brains behind the website – he was a web designer before he was a cop. My drawings have evolved and are now all drawn on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, which was a steep learning curve but now I love it!
We are so grateful to every follower we have and every customer who has supported us along the journey. This venture has truly changed our lives. We have shipped to the furthest corners of the world, challenged only by where the postal system takes us. We have now fulfilled over six thousand orders and sent out over ten thousand items – something I never thought would happen ! We had to take my Mum – Lynnie – on to help pack and post parcels!
When I qualified I was advised that it would be a good idea to become a Limited company (the grandly titled Student Studygram Limited) but behind the scenes it is still just a family business – Jess, Andy, Lynnie and even Noah at times!
More than anything, we love to hear from you how useful the pictures I draw are to you in learning. I have heard from so many students around the world that they too are visual learners and it thrills me to know they help. I love to see pictures of posters in your study spaces – please do share with me on social media.
At it’s heart, Student Midwife Studygram is for students of midwifery and maternity care. There will always be pictures shared on my social media, completely free for you to learn from.
Good luck to everyone studying!
Lots of love,
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Student Midwife Studygram is a trading name of Student Studygram Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales – Company Number 13174432
Student Studygram Ltd is registered for VAT in the United Kingdom – number GB 370 0852 15