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Using elective placements effectively

02 July 2019
Volume 27 · Issue 7


Elective placements, both in the UK and abroad, are a great opportunity for student midwives to experience care in other settings. Danielle Jacob shares what she learnt from her placements

Elective placements enable students to pursue an area of interest other than the essential standards required for pre-registration midwifery education (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2009). Student midwives can organise placements in the UK or abroad, although the timing and length depends on the individual university programme. Increasingly, midwifery students are carrying out elective placements in developing countries to enhance cultural sensitivity and knowledge of global midwifery. I hope that this blog will encourage and inspire students to use their elective placements effectively.

In September 2018, I carried out an observational 2-week placement through an organisation called Work the World. I was based in Effie Nkwanta Regional Hospital in Takoadi, western Ghana and spent most of my placement on the labour ward and triage.

Although I had learnt some of the local language, there were language barriers, which highlighted the importance of good non-verbal communication skills. The hospital was very different from the UK, with reduced documentation, and a lack of resources, privacy, access to pain relief and birth companions. My skills in using the Pinard stethoscope improved, as there was only one Doppler monitor available, despite the busy antenatal clinic.

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