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Midwifery education: Reflecting on the past and changing for the future

02 May 2018
Volume 26 · Issue 5


In 1993, Dr Lesley Briscoe was a clinical midwife, while Elinor Clarke, who wrote for the inagural issue, was a tutor and honorary lecturer. They look back on 25 years of midwifery education

Midwifery education is dynamic and responsive to changes in society, population demographic, theory and policy. Changes to education since British Journal of Midwifery began in 1993 have been phenomenal. The overarching aim of midwifery education is to prepare undergraduate students to be eligible to register as a midwife following a programme of theory and clinical practice and to enhance the potential of a midwifery workforce via postgraduate education. Reflecting on the past 25 years of midwifery education provides insights into the challenges of midwifery practice and the need to prepare midwives to be reflective and responsive to transformation as we advance towards 2025.

Looking back over the past 25 years of midwifery education enables us to learn from old ways of working and the related events that took place, to help plan for a future where the women is at the centre of personalised safe care. In the first edition of British Journal of Midwifery, it was noted that a change in the content and the implementation of educational programmes was essential to enable midwives to take full responsibility as the central providers of care during childbirth (Henderson, 1993). Today, midwives work in an environment as equal members of the healthcare team, and multidisciplinary working that recognises how human factors influence safety in maternity care is crucial to our understanding. However, recognition does not mean that we are always successful in achieving excellent standards of maternity care, something that has been documented in multiple maternity surveys over time (Lewis, 2004; Lewis, 2007; Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CEMACE), 2011; Knight et al, 2017).

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