Continuity of Care Experience (CoCE) is a practice-based learning experience for midwifery
students in Australia. This mandated component of education leading to the registration
as a midwife provides students the experience of providing continuity of care regardless
of the setting the clinical practice takes place. Since implementation, no standardised
learning intention or measure of learning outcome is evident.
The aim of this research is to identify the common understanding of the purpose and
learning objectives of the CoCE in midwifery programs from the perspective of midwifery
professionals. This presentation discusses the themes identified from Australian midwifery
professionals who hold expert opinion pertaining to how the CoCE is imbedded in curriculum.
Two focus groups were conducted with a total of 17 midwifery professionals across
Australia via virtual platform. Participants were midwifery academics, published authors
on CoCE, researchers, policy makers and accreditation experts. The focus group discussions
were facilitated using open-ended ‘prompt’ questions derived from themes identified
from the integrative literature review. The discussion was recorded and transcribed
verbatim. A thematic analysis of the qualitative data was undertaken.
The analysis of the data identifying the common understanding and purpose of the CoCE
exposed three themes. Three themes identified the learning objectives: accountability,
autonomy, and advocacy. The CoCE afforded the midwifery student the opportunity to
engage in learning underpinned by accountability of professional responsibility, advocacy
for women, and autonomy in practice.
The learning objectives accountability, autonomy, and advocacy are distinctive qualities
the CoCE. As opposed to traditional clinical practice based model, the CoCE affords
the midwifery student an engagement experience and exposure to develop a midwifery
professional identity that enables woman centred care. This research identifies the
intention of the CoCE learning and is an important step toward standardisation and
strengthening this mandated component of curriculum.