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Exploring the experiences of student midwives completing the newborn infant physical examination: part 2

02 March 2020
18 min read
 Midwives appear to feel more comfortable conducting the newborn infant physical examination when procedures are agreed upon by maternity managers and paediatric services
Volume 28 · Issue 3



This is the second part of a series of two papers which explores the use of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) within midwifery education in order to examine students' perspectives of the newborn infant physical examination (NIPE). Part one, featured in the British Journal of Midwifery volume 28, no 2, explains the background to the development of the study and explores the use of IPA within an emerging aspect of midwifery education. Part two of the series will present the research findings and implications for practice.


This study aims to explore the experiences of student midwives completing the theory and practice aspects of the NIPE within a pre-registration midwifery programme.


A qualitative design was utilised to analyse data collected by semi-structured interviews.


A large university in the West Midlands geographical area.


Five student midwives were purposively selected to participate in the study.


This study was conducted using IPA.


Three superordinate themes were generated: learning by doing, mentorship and transition to qualification. The findings demonstrate the significance of student midwives being exposed to the practical aspect of the NIPE during their training.


The study findings indicate that standardisation is required within preparation to undertake the NIPE within clinical practice. Higher educational institutes must also provide greater support with regards to the mentorship of student midwife NIPE practitioners. Further research should examine the maintenance of the NIPE role within newly qualified midwives.

This is the final article in a two-part series which explores the experiences of student midwives undertaking the newborn infant physical examination (NIPE). Part one explains the background to the development of this study in detail and explores the use of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) within midwifery education.

Part two presents the study findings, conclusions and recommendations for practice. The aims of the study are detailed in part one, but were broadly to gain insight into student midwives' lived experiences of completing the NIPE requirements of their pre-registration midwifery curriculum.

A search of the existing literature was carried out as recommended by Aveyard, Preston and Payne (2016). No papers were retrieved in relation to the specific experiences of pre-registration midwifery students and the NIPE. Therefore, the closest fit for this topic was to examine qualified midwives' experiences of the NIPE; looking for themes that could be transferable to this study. Six, UK-based qualitative studies were selected for review across seven papers. These studies explored the experiences of NIPE-qualified midwives, although the focus of all papers was in relation to the NIPE as an extended role, not as part of routine midwifery practice.

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