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Clinical midwifery placement: Undergraduate student's experiences with novice and expert preceptors

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      Aim

      Clinical placement is a vital component of the undergraduate midwifery degree, giving the student the opportunity to develop clinical skills. Workforce shortages have led to an increased number of graduates employed, resulting in an imbalanced skill mix, which sees novices frequently acting as preceptors to undergraduate students on clinical placement. The impact of this on the student learning experience has not been examined.
      To address the midwifery workforce shortage, it is vital that student midwives are adequately supported to complete their studies, join, and remain in the profession. This research aims to illuminate the beneficial attributes of novice and experienced preceptors, along with any challenges students may face with each cohort; provide the current and future midwifery workforce an opportunity to examine the provision of a suitable learning environment for midwifery students, and provide stakeholders with key recommendations on preparation of precepting midwives to optimise the student experience.

      Methods

      A qualitative descriptive design will be utilised; third-and-fourth-year Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Midwifery (Hons) students have been invited to participate in focus group discussions and/or semi-structured one-on-one interviews. Data will be thematically analysed.

      Preliminary Findings

      Student midwives report benefits with each cohort, which may not be evident with the other. These include the expert’s ability to give meaningful feedback and verbal guidance, whilst greater relatability, increased awareness of requirements, and making students feel welcome is reported with novice midwives.

      Results

      The final results of the research will be available in July 2022.

      Conclusion

      The hypothesis is that student participants will identify advantages and disadvantages with both novice and expert preceptors. Results can be used to improve future training of preceptors to optimise student clinical learning experiences.
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