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Collaborative coaching and learning in midwifery clinical placements

02 May 2019
11 min read
Volume 27 · Issue 5

Abstract

The model of coaching and collaborative learning is based on the nursing model of collaborative learning in practice developed at University of East Anglia and supported by Health Education East of England.

The model was adapted to fit the midwifery antenatal and postnatal ward, where it was trialled between September 2016 and August 2017. During the trial, students, coaches, mentors and other staff on the ward were supported by the clinical education midwife. Evaluation data were collected in the normal module evaluations and showed overall satisfaction with the model and the opportunities for sharing learning.

The model is now being rolled out to other placement areas. Keys to success included good preparation of the clinical placement areas and supported from a practice educator.

The UK Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) education framework contains standards for student supervision (NMC, 2018) that intend to change the way student nurses and midwives are supported and assessed in learning environments. The NMC places responsibility on the partnership between universities and placement providers for the quality of the learning. It also requires the clinical placement areas to be fully immersive clinical learning environments in which all staff become involved in supporting the education of future nurses and midwives. The existing mentorship model (NMC, 2008) therefore requires significant overhaul to meet the new standards that stress separate roles for supervision and assessment of students in placement areas.

Under the 2008 model, midwifery students are supported in clinical practice by a mentor to whom they have access for at least 40% of their placement (NMC, 2009). Mentors are trained to a standard set by the NMC (2008) and retain the qualification through annual updates and triennial reviews to ensure quality of placement education (Fisher et al, 2017). The mentor supervises the learning and conducts the assessment of practice in the placement area. The assessment is supported in many areas by a university academic midwife, resulting in a tripartite process between student, mentor and academic. Although the process of grading practice is controversial, Fisher et al (2017) conducted a survey of midwifery educators and found that the supportive collaborative relationship between clinicians and academics was generally viewed as robust.

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