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Embedding the 6 Cs: Problem-based learning the Bradford way

02 May 2015
Volume 23 · Issue 5


This discussion paper examines the 6 Cs of good health care practice, suggesting that by using a problem-based learning (PBL) approach, midwifery education can assist student midwives in developing a wide variety of essential skills from competence to compassion, communication to courage and caring to commitment. Starting with a brief discourse on the philosophical and educational basis for PBL along with an explanation of the process, the paper proceeds to examine each component of the 6 Cs, exploring in some detail how these relate to a PBL midwifery curriculum.

Problem-based learning (PBL) is an educational strategy that has been used in medical and other health-care education since its development at McMaster University in the 1970s (Barrows, 1996). PBL facilitates the development of professional competencies required by health care practitioners (Neville, 2009) while developing the ability to communicate effectively within a group, thus equipping student midwives for practice within a multidisciplinary environment (MacVane Phipps, 2010).

The same educational theory that underpins PBL suggests that the creation of student-centred, rather than instructor-led learning increases participants' skills in communication, teamworking and critical analysis (Benson, 2001). This paper proposes that PBL, particularly the model used in midwifery education at the University of Bradford, contributes to safe practice by encouraging a holistic understanding of care within a woman-centred framework (Haith-Cooper et al, 1999). This approach facilitates the development of the 6 Cs recommended by the Chief Nursing Officer in response to the Francis report (Cummings, 2012); therefore, compassion, communication, commitment, courage, care and competence are all facilitated by educating midwives through the medium of PBL, using the Bradford model.

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