The value of preceptorship for newly qualified midwives
The aim of the study was to examine the views and learning needs of student midwives at the point of registration in order to inform the development of a new preceptorship programme for newly qualified midwives using a qualitative phenomenological approach. Ten third year student midwives enrolled on an undergraduate BSc Midwifery programme were included in the study. Questionnaires and a focus group session were employed to collect data. Eight students returned the questionnaire and nine attended the focus group. Data were thematically analysed using an inductive approach.
The results suggest that preceptorship is highly valued by the students questioned and a period of preceptorship in a maternity unit they are familiar with was highlighted as being important in building confidence. It was also suggested that preceptorship programmes should focus on clinical skills enhancement, ward management and socialisation into the workplace.
Preceptorship in midwifery is a term used to describe a period of support given to newly qualified midwives to enable them to develop their knowledge and skills within their new working environment (Boon et al, 2005). Support from an experienced midwife (preceptor) enables them to consolidate experience gained as students, moving from being fit to practise at the point of registration to confident practitioners, as well as facilitating adaption to their new roles and responsibilities (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2006). In support of this, the Departmentof Health (DH) (2008) states in its report, A High Quality Workforce, that a foundation year should be adopted following midwifery registration to build confidence, suggesting that financial commitment from NHS Trusts to implement this is essential. Midwifery 2020 (DH, 2010: 36) also supports the concept of preceptorship ‘as a means of providing structured, focused support and guidance’.
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