One thing that sets becoming an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) apart from other programs is the degree of independence that it requires. Where university degree programs specify which courses are required to graduate and provide you with opportunities to fulfill the requirements, the designation I am chasing simply lists what courses I need to take and how many clinical hours I need (500!)… finding appropriate courses and learning opportunities is entirely up to me.
Case in point: When I went to teacher’s college, I was assigned a “home group” with which I traveled to my various courses throughout the week, and when it came time for practicum, someone sitting in an office somewhere printed me off my assignment of which classroom I was to show up to practice teach in on what date. Of course, that degree (and other degree programs) do take dedication and hard work, but everything is laid out for you.
The IBLCE allows candidates a five year period within which to fulfill all requirements to write the exam. My plan is to write the exam in July 2015, which will mark the end of my five years. All contact hours and courses must be completed by April of that year. This gives me a little over three more years to fulfill all of my obligations.
I decided to take stock of exactly where I am, to better understand where I am going and what I need to do to get there.
The verdict: I need to kick it up a notch. I’ve still got lots of time, but I’d rather meet the requirements slowly but surely than to be panicking when only a few months remain.
University level academic requirements achieved:
- Infant and Child Growth and Development
Still to achieve:
Lactation specific education: Two courses down (Nine to go!)
There are a further six mini courses I must complete: (These are the ones that sound extremely exciting to me. YAWN!)
Basic life support (e.g. CPR – I have this one), Medical documentation, Medical terminology, Occupational safety for health professionals, Professional ethics for health professionals, and Universal safety precautions and infection control.
Clinical hours required: 500
Clinical hours achieved: 25 (only 475 to go!)
My biggest challenge right now is meeting the 500 contact hours requirement. I am currently interning one afternoon a week which typically gives me 2.5-3 hours. (To count for hours I must be actively working with mother-baby dyads). I don’t have enough weeks left to record just 3 hours at a time. Looks like working one more half day a week is in my future!
I’m starting a new course tonight, “Positioning and Latch of Baby at the Breast” – off to study I go!