References

Hunter B, Warren LCardiff: Cardiff University; 2013

Power A Midwifery in the 21st century: Are students prepared for the challenge?. British Journal of Midwifery. 2016; 24:(1)66-8 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.12968/bjom.2016.24.1.66

Royal College of Midwives. 2015. https://www.rcm.org.uk/download-now-state-of-maternity-services-report-2015 (accessed 16 February 2017)

Royal College of Midwives. 2016. http://tinyurl.com/gsy6jb6 (accessed 16 February 2017)

Courage, commitment and resilience: Traits of student midwives who fail and retake modules

02 March 2017
7 min read
Volume 25 · Issue 3

Abstract

In the context of staff retention in maternity services in the UK, the concept of resilience has a high profile. The ever more complex demands of contemporary midwifery practice in the UK lead some midwives to make the difficult decision to leave the profession, with the top five reasons being: dissatisfaction with staffing levels; dissatisfaction with the quality of care they were able to give; excessive workload; lack of managerial support; and poor working conditions. It is estimated that around 20% of students who commence the pre-registration midwifery programme will not qualify to become a midwife; reasons for non-completion of studies include deciding it is the wrong career choice, financial difficulties and family circumstances. Academic failure, however, is not cited as a key reason for leaving the course. This article shares the stories of three students who failed and then retook a theory module during their pre-registration midwifery programme. The students show courage in their willingness to publicly discuss their experiences; commitment to their chosen profession by retaking the module; and resilience by persevering despite the additional emotional and financial demands of their situation. A fourth student offers advice for others who might find themselves in the same situation.

A previous article considered the relevance of Hunter and Warren's (2013) findings to pre-registration midwifery education, and whether student midwives were adequately prepared to deal with the ever more complex demands of their chosen profession (Power, 2016). It is estimated that approximately 20% of students who commence the pre-registration midwifery programme will not qualify to become a midwife (Centre for Workforce Intelligence, 2012). This is compounded by the fact that the increasingly complex demands of midwifery practice lead some midwives to leave the profession, with the top five reasons being: dissatisfaction with staffing levels; dissatisfaction with the quality of care they were able to give; excessive workload; lack of managerial support; and poor working conditions (Royal College of Midwives (RCM), 2016). Given the current ‘retirement time bomb’ the profession is facing (RCM, 2015: 2), it is more important than ever that student midwives are supported to successfully complete their programme of study to join the depleting workforce. Students leave the programme for many reasons such as deciding midwifery is the wrong career choice, financial difficulties and family circumstances (Galloway, 2015); however, academic failure is not usually cited as a key reason for leaving the course. The experiences of those students who have failed and retaken a module are the focus of this article, as their narratives give an insight into their character traits and motivations.

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