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Does preceptorship support newly qualified midwives to become confident practitioners?

02 December 2018
Volume 26 · Issue 12



Preceptorship is as a period of time whereby a newly qualified registrant is supported and guided to make the transition from student to competent practitioner.


To analyse the literature and answer whether preceptorship for newly qualified midwives supports them to become competent and confident practitioners.


Literature was searched using an inclusion/exclusion criteria and six pieces of relevant literature met the inclusion criteria. Themes were derived from the chosen pieces of literature and analysed thematically.


The themes consisted of two main themes and three subthemes. There were also some additional comments that could not be classed as themes but were important to note.


There is an evident lack of primary research into newly qualified midwives, preceptorship, and gaining competence and confidence. More primary research is needed to assess this notion. In addition, preceptors also need to be trained to ensure they have the right attributes to adequately support, teach and assess junior midwives.

Preceptorship is defined by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a time when a newly qualified registrant is supported and guided to make the transition from student to competent practitioner (NMC, 2006; Department of Health, 2010). New midwives will require support from their colleagues and line managers to complete the preceptorship programme (NMC, 2006).

Although preceptorship remains high on the healthcare agenda, the delivery of programmes remains the responsibility of the local Trust and is variable in terms of time provided and content (Mason and Davies, 2013). The NMC (2006) states that the minimum preceptorship period could be as short as 4 months, but this is arguably insufficient. The Department of Health (2010) does not state the amount of time required to complete a preceptorship programme and simply recommends that it is determined on an individual basis; however, this creates uncertainty and a disparity across the country as to what programmes of support are offered to newly qualified practitioners and how achievable and supportive they are.

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