From theory to practice
Aimi Meen, Senior Midwifery Lecturer at the University of the West of England, analyses current midwifery skills and how they simulate in the 21st century
Skills and simulation are core components of a midwife's development, and are implemented both in pre-registration and post-registration curriculum programmes, professional standards and embedded in everyday clinical practice. It is imperative to recognise the similarities and differences between skills and simulation, and how focus on these learning strategies can emphasise experiential learning and the promotion of reflection (Berragan, 2011).
The International Confederation of Midwives (2021) state that midwifery has a ‘unique body of knowledge, skills and professional attitudes drawn from disciplines shared by other health professions, such as science and sociology but practised by midwives within a professional framework of autonomy, partnership, ethics and accountability’. This demonstrates that midwives have a unique set and combination of skills in which to provide safe, effective and outcome-driven care, protecting the normal physiological processes of pregnancy and birth in an ever-increasing complex world.
When referring to midwifery skills, the Nursing and Midwifery Council's (2019a; 2019b) standards for education and training, and standards for midwives define these in multiple sections both individually and combined. Skills can be clinical or non-clinical. Take for example ‘domain 6’, the midwife as a skilled practitioner ie specific antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal skills, communication skills, digital skills, professional skills, clinical skills, interpersonal skills and leadership skills. All of these specific and diverse skills underpin the role of the midwife in the 21st century (see Figure 1).
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