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Working together to implement a Pre-Qualifying Skills Passport in Wales: Report of a pilot project

02 July 2016
10 min read
Volume 24 · Issue 7

Abstract

Midwives are required to undertake a wide range of hands-on skills. Immediately upon qualification, they will be expected to use these skills safely and effectively as part of their practice. Therefore, student midwives must be supported to develop competence and confidence in such skills. Currently, many practical midwifery skills are not specifically identified in the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC, 2009) Standards for pre-registration midwifery education. Over time, it has become clear that some midwives were qualifying from universities in Wales and entering their new posts feeling unprepared to undertake a number of important midwifery skills, such as the administration of intramuscular vitamin K to babies. This article describes how heads of midwifery education and lead midwives for education worked together with heads of midwifery to develop and implement an All Wales Midwifery Pre-Qualifying Skills Passport, to address these shortcomings.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has stipulated a series of rules, standards and guidelines to underpin and regulate midwifery practice in the UK (NMC, 2012; 2015). These guidelines set out the context for midwifery practice and focus primarily on what a midwife can, cannot, should or must do. The NMC also sets out a range of competencies and essential skills clusters to be achieved by midwifery students during their education programme for entry onto the professional register (NMC, 2008; 2009). The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2001), in its subject benchmark statements for health-care programmes, sets out threshold standards against which higher education institutions are expected to benchmark programmes of midwifery education.

Together, these documents provide a map of the boundaries and values of midwifery practice and midwifery education. However, among the broad statements of knowledge, skills, values, behaviour and practice parameters that are outlined in them, none of them seem to distinguish definitively what are the most essential hands-on competencies required of a midwife at the point of registration.

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