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Prepared and motivated to work in midwifery continuity of care? A descriptive analysis of midwifery students’ perspectives

  • Joanne Carter
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Logan Campus, 68 University Dr, Meadowbrook, Queensland 4131, Australia.
    Affiliations
    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Logan Campus, 68 University Dr, Meadowbrook, Queensland 4131, Australia

    Transforming Maternity Care Collaborative, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
  • Mary Sidebotham
    Affiliations
    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Logan Campus, 68 University Dr, Meadowbrook, Queensland 4131, Australia

    Transforming Maternity Care Collaborative, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
  • Elaine Dietsch
    Affiliations
    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Logan Campus, 68 University Dr, Meadowbrook, Queensland 4131, Australia

    Transforming Maternity Care Collaborative, Australia
    Search for articles by this author

      Abstract

      Background

      Internationally, midwifery education and maternity services are evolving to promote midwifery continuity of care. It is unclear whether current Australian midwifery education programs are graduating a midwifery workforce prepared and motivated to work in this way.

      Aim

      To discover how well midwifery students in Australia feel they have been prepared and motivated to work in midwifery continuity of care when they enter practice.

      Methods

      A pragmatist approach was used. Participants were final year midwifery students at one Australian university participating in the Midwifery Student Evaluation of Practice (MidSTEP) project over three consecutive years. Descriptive analysis of selected scaled and free text responses was undertaken to ascertain how students’ clinical practice experiences had influenced their learning, development and career aspirations.

      Results

      Exposure to midwifery continuity of care had profound impact on students’ learning, enabling them to provide woman-centred midwifery care whilst increasing confidence and preparedness for practice. The majority were motivated to work in midwifery continuity of care upon graduation. A small minority of participants felt unprepared to work in midwifery continuity of care, attributing this to their family commitments, a sense of needing more experience or unsupportive workplace cultures.

      Summary

      Midwifery continuity of care experiences are highly valued by midwifery students and positively influence confidence, preparation and motivation for beginning practice. It is necessary to review education standards to ensure quality, consistency, and adequacy of these experiences throughout pre-registration midwifery education. This will assist in generating a midwifery workforce prepared and motivated to deliver the goals of maternity service reform.

      Keywords

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