Research Article| Volume 33, ISSUE 5, P448-454, September 2020

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Nurturing autonomy in student midwives within a student led antenatal clinic

  • Valerie Hamilton
    Corresponding author at: Griffith University, Logan Campus, University Drive, Meadowbrook, Queensland 4131, Australia.
    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, University Drive, Meadowbrook, Queensland 4131, Australia
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  • Kathleen Baird
    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, University Drive, Meadowbrook, Queensland 4131, Australia

    Gold Coast University Hospital, 1 Hospital Blvd, Southport, Queensland 4215, Australia
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  • Jennifer Fenwick
    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, University Drive, Meadowbrook, Queensland 4131, Australia
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Published:December 18, 2019DOI:



      A clinical environment that provides meaningful and productive learning experiences is essential for students of all health care professions. To support the learning needs of undergraduate midwifery students and facilitate the continuity of care experiences a student led clinic was established in one South East Queensland maternity unit.


      This study explored the experiences and learning processes of previous and current midwifery students undertaking clinical practice within a student led clinic.


      Qualitative descriptive. Ten students that elected to work in the midwifery student led clinic were invited to participate in a one off digitally recorded face to face or telephone interview. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data set. University ethical approval was granted (NRS/17/15/HREC).


      Findings suggest the student led clinic positioned students in the ‘driver’s seat’. Overwhelmingly students described the clinic as providing them with an array of opportunities to ‘lead’ care rather than being forced to ‘sit and watch’. Students believed the experience of working in the clinic increased their midwifery knowledge, skills, confidence, critical thinking, and the ability to advocate for and empower women.


      High quality and supportive clinical teaching and learning experiences are vital for ensuring the student midwife develops into a competent practitioner who is fit for registration. The evidence from this small study highlights the benefits afforded to students of working in partnership not only with pregnant women but also with their university midwifery lecturer. The student’s continuity of care learning experiences appeared to foster and cultivate their capability, identity, purpose, resourcefulness and connection; all the five senses of success.


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