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The transition from clinical practice to education

02 January 2018
11 min read
Volume 26 · Issue 1


Every midwife will make the transition from education to the clinical setting, but moving from clinical practice to a new role in midwifery education can be just as much of a change. The decision to transition from clinical practice to a midwifery academic educator role should be carefully considered. As part of the midwifery education in action series, this article will reflect on the authors' own move into education and share these experiences with those who may also wish to choose this career path. After more than three years in post, there is much to be shared; however, this article will also include a brief review of midwifery education, how best to support student learning and assessment, and how to prioritise career development.

After 20 years in clinical practice (initially as a registered general nurse and then a registered midwife), a secondment opportunity presented to take up a role as a practice healthcare lecturer at the University of Nottingham. I am interested in midwifery education and was already practising as a clinical educator and mentor to student midwives, so this seemed an excellent opportunity to experience midwifery education from an academic perspective. Despite being a senior midwife and expert labour suite clinician, the role as a novice educator was a daunting prospect and required a period of transition from clinical practice to academia McDonald (2010). This article focuses on making the transition, and provides advice to anyone looking to make a similar career change in the future.

It is important for academic educators to be aware of the socio-political landscape regarding higher education and healthcare provision. Midwifery education in the UK has seen a number of developments, from the regulation of the profession and the Midwives Act in 1902 to the present day, where midwifery education is well established in universities. Further changes are still to come, with the review of the new standards for pre-registration education by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC, 2009). Gorski et al (2015) argues that there have been huge changes in healthcare provision but that healthcare education has been slow to change in the face of social and scientific advances.

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