Clinical outcomes for women participating in continuity of care experiences with pre-registration midwifery students

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      Midwifery students in Australia are required to care for a minimum of 10 women in a continuity of care experience (CoCE) as part of their pre-registration midwifery program. Clinical outcomes for women receiving care from midwifery students may be documented by students in portfolios or ePortfolios but are rarely reported. The extent to which students value add to women’s care is unknown.
      This novel study used a retrospective descriptive design to evaluate the routinely collected clinical outcomes of women who had participated in a CoCE with a midwifery student (n = 5972 during pregnancy and n = 3933 during labour and birth) in one Australian BMid program between 2015 and 2020. The clinical outcomes collected and reported by students were compared with the National Core Maternity Indicators. Clinical outcomes were analysed for (1) women in a CMC primary model and who had a CoCE; (2) women in fragmented primary model of care and who had a CoCE; and (3) a comparison of clinical outcomes for women according to their model of care.
      The analyses revealed that women who had a CoCE with a midwifery student experienced equal to, or better clinical outcomes than national outcomes. In particular, tobacco smoking after 20 weeks of pregnancy, fourth degree tears and episiotomy rates were reduced for women who had CoCE with a midwifery student.
      Greatest benefit of CoCE with midwifery students was achieved when care began earlier in pregnancy. It is recommended that midwifery students commence CoCE as early as possible in pregnancy and that pre-registration midwifery programs extend and develop CoCE to maximise benefits for students and women.
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