Following on from last issue's Birthwrite article, Ruth Sanders and Kelda Folliard discuss teaching research skills to midwifery students through practical techniques
Our previous Birthwrite article discussed the conceptual leap for student midwives when embedding evidence-based practice and research in midwifery. The article noted that the evidence-based practice and research skills that are core to midwifery curricula do not always remain with student midwives beyond qualification (Folliard and Sanders, 2022). We suggested this was because these skills are somewhat opaque, less tangible than hands on midwifery skills (Lee and Peacock, 2020), and not reliably modelled by the midwives with whom students and newly qualified midwives learn. So, how do we, as midwifery educators, ensure parity of esteem between these different types of midwifery skills?
With the daily challenges of busy workloads leaving little time for experienced midwives to actively engage with research (Toolhill et al, 2015), clinical and academic educators may find it difficult to effectively facilitate prioritising and mastering evidence-based practice and research skills. Supervising midwives need to assess students’ ability to translate theory into practice. This paper outlines some approaches that have been taken and focuses on whether there is an opportunity for collegiate learning, which capitalises on the privileged position of student midwives, who have dedicated time to specifically focus on these skills. The aim of this is to ensure that evidence-based practice and research skills are maintained beyond the point of registration and nurture a research-positive maternity culture with safe practice at its core.
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