Objective: To examine how student midwives in higher education learn to become competent and confident woman-centred practitioners.
Design: Participant observation study using a ‘buddy’ approach.
Setting: Bachelor of Midwifery students in one higher education institution in the Netherlands.
Methods: First-year student midwives followed one woman throughout the continuum of childbirth. The students attended a minimum of five of the woman’s antenatal care encounters and a minimum of one postnatal care encounter. In addition, students explored the woman’s professional care network. Student midwives used participant observation, structured interview techniques and reflective practice to focus on (1) the woman and to gain insight into her wishes and experiences of care throughout the continuum of pregnancy, birth and postpartum period; (2) the impact of the
caregiver on the woman; and (3) the woman’s experience of the partnership. Lectures, peer-debriefing, competency assessments, research activities and a logbook supported students’ learning.
Results: Learning was achieved through the student’s relational continuity and active engagement with the individual woman. Students gained insight into the experiences of individual pregnant and postpartum women, the individual practice of healthcare practitioners and the interaction between the woman and the
healthcare practitioner. Students’ development of critical thinking and reflective practice was enhanced to begin to form a vision of woman-centred care.
Conclusion: The project was successful in equipping Bachelor of Midwifery students with competencies to support them in their learning of providing woman-centred care and offered them unique and in-depth experiences supporting and augmenting their personal, professional and academic development.
Fontein-Kuipers, Y., Romeijn, E., Zwijnenberg, A., Eekhof, W., & van Staa, A. (2018). ‘ISeeYou’: A woman-centred care education and research project in Dutch bachelor midwifery education. Health Education Journal, 77(8), 899-914. https://doi.org/10.1177/0017896918784618