Embedding evidence-based practice within the pre-registration midwifery curriculum
Clinical midwifery skills and understanding are continually changing in line with research evidence and service innovations. Evidence-based midwifery practice is essential to ensuring that the care provided to childbearing women is safe, effective and of the best quality to meet their individual needs. To deliver woman-centred care, evidence from research should be considered in conjunction with clinical experience and women's own preferences. One of the challenges for Higher Education Institutions that offer pre-registration midwifery education is to incorporate evidence-based practice across the curriculum so that student midwives see it as an integral part of their role, rather than as a separate concept. Midwifery students need the knowledge and skills to identify areas of practice in need of investigation, an understanding of how each stage of the research process works, and the skills to critique research studies to ensure that their practice is evidence-based.
Research and evidence-based midwifery practice are essential in order to drive the profession forward and deliver safe, effective, women-centred care. Evidence-based practice is not a new concept, but it is evolving, and curriculum models need to be dynamic and flexible to allow for changes in midwifery practice, delivery of services and the continued development of evidence-based practice.
Midwives work in ever-changing care environments, and changes in policy, technology and the demography of society all affect how midwifery care is delivered. Various high profile public inquiries, such as the Francis Report (2013), the Morecambe Bay investigation (Kirkup, 2015) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2014) in Guernsey have increased scrutiny of midwives' work, and clinical negligence claims relating to maternity care represent 50% of the received claims to NHS Resolution (formerly NHS Litigation Authority) (NHS Resolution, 2017). As a result, midwives are increasingly required to use evidence to justify the decisions they make and the care they have provided, rather than relying upon experience and intuition.
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