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Transition to midwifery: Collaborative working between university and maternity services

02 July 2015
Volume 23 · Issue 7


Education programmes are tasked to prepare midwives for an ever-changing role and workload related to practice, skills and professional requirements at the point of registration and beyond. This article outlines the ‘transition project's’ 10-year journey to-date and considers the implementation of a ‘passport’ that aims to enhance the final year student midwife's transition to newly qualified status by working towards post-registration competencies as they progress through their first post induction and preceptorship year. Funding and availability of NHS Trust training balanced with the support needed for the newly qualified midwife may be a concern for any budget holder, but in terms of profession attrition, this type of innovation may be cost-effective in the longer term.

The first few months’ experiences of a newly qualified midwife's first post have an impact on the individual's confidence and the overall quality of the maternity service offered to the women and their families (Kitson-Reynolds, 2010, unpublished; Kitson-Reynolds et al, 2014). van der Putten (2008) describes it as a critical period when newly graduated midwives undergo significant adjustments to become effective team members in order to be accepted into an already established team (Kitson-Reynolds, 2010, unpublished). When successful, induction packages, integration to a new team and preceptorship programmes have been shown to have a positive effect on the retention of staff (Boon et al, 2005; Levett-Jones and Fitzgerald, 2005) and are a recommendation of the Midwifery 2020 report (Department of Health (DH), 2010a). The DH (2008) concluded that a ‘foundation’ preceptorship period at the start of a career would support the practitioner on the start of their novice-to-expert journey (Benner, 1984). Consequently, the DH published guidance on the development of effective preceptorship programmes for all health professionals. This publication (DH, 2010b) stated that preceptorship programmes re-assert the need for robust systems to be in place as it is recognised that the first few weeks into a new role is a time of vulnerability for the newly qualified midwife, and attrition nationally from the profession within the first 5 years is high (DH, 2010a). The Midwifery 2020 report (DH, 2010a: 8) states that there are many health-care practitioners accessing ‘well-established preceptorship schemes’ currently with benefit to both individuals and service provision.

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