Restorative supervision for student midwives: The professional midwifery advocate in the classroom
Women and their families are entitled to high quality, safe and effective maternity care, yet reports have identified failings in areas of care such as risk assessment and care planning. As a result, there have been fundamental changes in the way midwives are regulated in the UK. With these changes came the development of a new model for midwifery clinical supervision, aligned to the aims of the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England to provide a high quality service, delivered by resilient, highly valued, well-supported midwives. This article will consider the role of a Professional Midwifery Advocate in a university setting to explore how the early introduction of the role and implementation of group-based restorative supervision may positively impact on student midwives' training, reduce attrition rates, encourage the development of resilience and foster an ethos of peer support.
The function of Local Supervising Author ities (LSAs) and statutory supervision of midwives have now been removed as a result of the findings of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (2013), the Francis (2013) and Kirkup (2015) reports and the subsequent King's Fund Review (Baird et al, 2015), which recommended the separation of midwifery supervision and regulation, since the peer investigation model was considered potentially biased and this tier of investigatory process was not present in other health professions. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) now have direct control of all regulatory activity and a new employer-led model of clinical supervision has been introduced.
The new non-regulatory model of midwifery supervision, A-EQUIP (Advocating and Educating for QUality ImProvement) aims to support staff and improve the quality of maternity care, in a way that is nationally consistent, strategic and integrated at local level (Gillman, 2015). It has four distinct roles: education and development; personal action for quality improvement; restorative clinical supervision (a support network to enhance staff health and wellbeing); and normative function (focusing on evaluating the standards of quality control in practice) (Department of Health and Social Care, 2016; National Maternity Review, 2016; NHS England, 2016). The concept of clinical supervision is still highly regarded:
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