Coping with end-of-year assessments: a survival guide for pre-registration midwives
The midwifery preregistration programme of study is a demanding undertaking that prepares students for the stressors and complexities of the role of the qualified midwife. Additionally, there are ‘pinch points’ during each academic year, where the pressures of theory and practice assessments can lead to students feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope. While multiple submissions due on or around the same time may seem excessive, as students cannot be assessed on what they have not learned, this inevitably leads to a heavy assessment schedule towards the end of each academic year. This article will complement existing literature by suggesting self-help techniques such as relaxation, exercise and making use of existing support networks, along with signposting to useful online resources for students to access during particularly stressful times of their training.
Summer is a busy time of year in the academic calendar, with student midwives coming towards the end of clinical placements while preparing for oral and written assessments. Standard 15 of the Standards for Pre-registration Midwifery Education states that:
‘Clinical practice must be graded and be counted as part of the academic award […] This is designed to confirm that the student has the theoretical knowledge, practical skills and attitude to achieve the standards required for entry to the midwives' part of the register.’
Students must pass all assessments to progress to the next year of their programme of study, or to be admitted to the register if they are finalists.
Previous articles have discussed ways to cope with the various stages of midwifery training, including the importance of resilience (Power, 2016); ‘Survival Guides’ to help navigate the early stages of the course (Power, 2015a) and first labour ward placements (Power, 2015b); and university support systems for student midwives with additional needs (Power and Murray, 2017).
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