A literature review to determine midwifery students’ perceived essential qualities of preceptors to increase confidence and competence in the clinical environment



      Midwifery students’ experiences with preceptors in the clinical environment plays an integral role in developing the confidence and competence of students. As up to 50% of the midwifery program is taught in the clinical environment, an analysis of the preceptorship role in the context of midwifery student confidence and competence may be important to inform future practice and policy.


      To discover, whilst on clinical placement, what is required by preceptors to suitably equip midwifery students to develop confidence and competence in the clinical environment.


      A search of the literature was undertaken using health and midwifery related electronic databases of PubMed, CINAHL, Intermid, SCOPUS and Web of Science. Grey literature, and reference lists from studies were also part of the thorough search process.


      After critical reading of the 15 included studies, there were a number of themes identified as the preceptor qualities that contributed to student confidence and competence. Those themes include ‘belongingness’, ‘hands on experience/skill development’, ‘students’ development of professional identity’ and ‘preceptor characteristics that impact student learning’.


      Student confidence and competence can be dependent on the preceptor who supports them. There are preceptors who enable students to flourish in their confidence and competence, and there also appears to be preceptors who do not possess these qualities, which requires further enquiry.


      As the evidence appears to find that trained preceptors are optimal for student confidence and competence, further enquiry is warranted to inform policy and practice around the concept of preceptorship training for midwives.


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