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Pre-registration midwifery education: Clinicians in the classroom

02 February 2016
Volume 24 · Issue 2


According to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC, 2009), pre-registration midwifery programmes of study must be made up of no less than 50% practice and no less than 40% theory. The programme must also include a variety of teaching and learning strategies. Programmes of study are enhanced when midwifery teaching is complemented with input from other experts such as service users, midwives and other members of the multidisciplinary team. This is the first of a series of articles discussing teaching by a range of health professionals, each of which will include the featured professional's role and responsibilities, their motivations to teach, the topics they cover and, where appropriate, how this input is evaluated by student midwives.

By 1996, midwifery pre-registration education in the UK was fully integrated into higher education and, currently, 92 universities offer approved midwifery courses in England (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2015). Successful completion of the programme of study provides student midwives with both a theoretical and professional qualification. This move to higher education was perceived by some to distance theoretical input from practice; a disconnect known as the ‘theory–practice gap’. While this phenomenon has been more widely debated in relation to nursing education, it is reasonable to consider it in the context midwifery education (Upton, 1999; Henderson, 2002; Scully, 2011; Monaghan, 2015).

A report from the Chief Nursing Officers of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (2010: 19) said midwifery education programmes ‘require substantial academic, clinical and professional input from skilled educationalists’ and that ‘it is essential to protect and assure the quality of the student learning experience’.

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