Adding to the midwifery curriculum through internationalisation and promotion of global mobility
Despite the obvious need for student midwives to be exposed to meaningful learning experiences that consider engagement in the wider context of international health care and the associated benefits, there is a lack of information on how this is achieved within midwifery curricula both nationally and internationally. At the University of Nottingham, work has been undertaken to ensure the midwifery curriculum is internationalised and global mobility is promoted to all midwifery students. Processes and strategies have been put in place to encourage students' mobility including the Erasmus+ programme, elective placements and short-term ad hoc international opportunities. Thanks to the strategies that have been implemented, the Division of Midwifery has seen an increase in students undertaking an international placement from 5% in 2013/14 to 18% in 2015/16. Moving forward, future works will aim to develop ‘virtual mobility’ projects and evaluate the Erasmus+ programme in conjunction with European partners.
Midwifery practice needs to constantly adapt and respond to mutable social, cultural and political factors. Considering immigration patterns in England and Wales, the population has become ever more ethnically and culturally diverse over the past 60 years (Office for National Statistics, 2013). Consequently, midwives are called on to provide care for a range of com munities in a culturally sensitive manner (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2015). Green et al (2008) argue that health professionals share common beliefs and underpinning values that go beyond indi vidual countries' boundaries; while the roles and clinical practices may vary in different states, there is ‘a constant in the idea of promoting health and contributing to the care of the public’ (Green et al, 2008: 982).
In a panorama of constantly changing populations in terms of social, cultural, religious and economical status, midwifery students should be encouraged to appreciate differing health care provision from a global perspective. Contemporary midwifery education, therefore, demands engagement in the wider context of international health care, particularly given the increasing number of migrant women and families in the UK (Migration Watch UK, 2012).
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