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Optimising the continuity experiences of student midwives: an integrative review

Moncrieff, Gill; MacVicar, Sonya; Norris, Gail; Hollins Martin, Caroline J.


Gill Moncrieff


Background: In several countries, midwifery students undertake continuity of care experiences as part of their pre-registration education. This is thought to enable the development of a woman-centred approach, as well as providing students with the skills to work in continuity models. A comprehensive overview of factors that may promote optimal learning within continuity experiences is lacking.

Aim: To identify barriers and facilitators to optimal learning within continuity experiences, in order to provide a holistic overview of factors that may impact on, modify and determine learning within this educational model.

Methods: An integrative literature review was undertaken using a five-step framework which established the search strategy, screening and eligibility assessment, and data evaluation processes. Quality of included literature was critically appraised and extracted data were analysed thematically.

Findings: Three key themes were identified. A central theme was relationships, which are instrumental in learning within continuity experiences. Conflict or coherence represents the different models of care in which the continuity experience is situated, which may conflict with or cohere to the intentions of this educational model. The final theme is setting the standards, which emerged from the lack of evidence and guidance to inform the implementation of student placements within continuity experiences.

Conclusion: The learning from continuity experiences must be optimised to prepare students to be confident, competent and enthusiastic to work in continuity models, ultimately at the point of graduation. This will require an evidence-based approach to inform clear guidance around the intent, implementation, documentation and assessment of continuity experiences.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 9, 2020
Online Publication Date Feb 3, 2020
Publication Date 2021-02
Deposit Date Jan 15, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 4, 2021
Print ISSN 1871-5192
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 1
Pages 77-86
Keywords Student midwives; Midwifery education; Continuity of care; Caseloading; Curriculum
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