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Accountability, Advocacy and Autonomy: the top intentions for midwifery student learning in the Continuity of Care Experience

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      Introduction

      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.

      Aim

      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.

      Method

      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.

      Results

      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.

      Conclusion

      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.
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