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Midwifery students' experiences of their clinical internship: A qualitative descriptive study

Research paper by Carmel Bradshaw, Sylvia Murphy Tighe; Owen Doody

Indexed on: 04 Jul '18Published on: 02 Jul '18Published in: Nurse Education Today



Abstract

Publication date: September 2018 Source:Nurse Education Today, Volume 68 Author(s): Carmel Bradshaw, Sylvia Murphy Tighe, Owen Doody Background Globally the safety of mothers and babies is fundamental in maternity care. Central to ensuring this safety is appropriate preparation of midwifery students' to ensure graduates are equipped to assume the responsibilities of delivering safe and effective maternity care. In preparation for autonomous practice Irish midwifery students' undertake a 36 week internship in the final year of the BSc Midwifery programme. Within this paid internship midwifery students' have the opportunity to develop professional behaviours, consolidate knowledge and learn necessary skills to fulfil the role of midwife under the supervision of registered midwives. Objective To explore midwifery students' experiences of the internship period. Design and Method A descriptive qualitative study using focus groups with ethical approval. Setting and Participants BSc Midwifery students' in the final year of their programme (n = 17) in an Irish University were invited to participate in a focus group interview midway through their internship. All participants (n = 13) had experience of working in two sites used for internship at the time of data collection. Results Key findings include the importance of the internship period in consolidating clinical skills and building confidence and competence for midwifery practice. Midwifery students' experience considerable stress during the internship period. Demands identified as stressors include providing care in increasingly complex clinical areas, meeting academic deadlines and maintaining a work life balance. Negative interpersonal experiences and dismissive attitudes to reflection on practice were barriers to learning. Midwifery students' articulated the importance of learning through doing, a supportive learning culture and philosophy in the unit, protected time for reflection and being included and valued as part of the midwifery team. Conclusions The benefits and challenges associated with internship in midwifery are apparent, particularly when students' are contending with two geographically distant sites. Support mechanisms and suggestions for improvements are considered.