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Changemaker: Preparing student midwives for employability, qualification and beyond

02 April 2018
Volume 26 · Issue 4


The Royal College of Midwives estimates that there is a shortfall of approximately 3500 full-time midwives in England and, with one-third of practising midwives aged 50 or more, it is evident that recruitment and retention are key to the ongoing success of maternity services. The need for high-quality care is especially acute, given that women are presenting with increasingly complex medical, social and obstetric backgrounds. The role of higher education institutions is not only to ensure student midwives meet the requirements of the EU Directive 2005/36/EC and achieve the Nursing and Midwifery Council Standards, but also to support them to apply for jobs, navigate the recruitment process and understand their legal, ethical and professional responsibilities on qualification. This article will discuss an e-module that was introduced at the University of Northampton, entitled ‘Becoming a midwife’. This module adopted an innovative approach to learning, teaching and assessment in relation to student midwives' employability, social awareness and preparedness for professional practice on qualification.

The role of higher education institutions is not only to ensure that student midwives meet the requirements of the European Union (EU) Directive 2005/36/EC and Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) standards (NMC, 2009); but also to prepare students for the recruitment process, and ensure that they understand the legal, ethical and professional frameworks of their profession as they apply to join the register. This article will discuss an e-module for third year midwifery students, entitled ‘Becoming a midwife’, that adopted an innovative approach in supporting students to critically reflect on their professional journey, prepare for qualification and work towards employment as a safe and competent practitioner.

The University of Northampton's pedagogical style is ‘active blended learning’ (ABL), a student-centred approach designed to support the development of subject knowledge and understanding, independent learning and digital fluency. In this module, collaboration and clear links to the interactive e-learning package ensure that learning is multidimensional, and encourage students to develop autonomy, confidence and adaptability (University of Northampton, 2018a). A previous article in this series discussed the development, delivery and evaluation of teaching clinical skills using active blended learning (Power and Cole, 2017). This article will make the same observations for a theoretical module to see how pedagogical innovations can enhance students' learning and employability.

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