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Student midwives' education needs and their experience of attending a bereavement education workshop

02 August 2018
Volume 26 · Issue 8



Clinical training should be efficient, intellectually rigorous, and integrated into practice. This interactive workshop was developed to support student midwives in bereavement care.


To improve student midwives' confidence in providing bereavement care to parents after pregnancy loss and perinatal death.


Two focus groups were held, where students' (n=12) discussed their experiences of attending the workshop, barriers and facilitators to gaining confidence, and any further education needs.


All students agreed that the workshop increased their confidence, and said that role-plays were the most beneficial aspect of the day. Lack of exposure and support from mentors and senior staff was seen as the largest barrier to gaining further confidence.


The results suggest that all students could benefit from a workshop to increase confidence in bereavement care. The content of this workshop can be used in other maternity settings in Ireland and is recommended for all staff members caring for parents after perinatal bereavement or pregnancy loss.

Student midwives may encounter bereaved parents at their most vulnerable time, as they attempt to come to terms with the diagnosis of, and give meaning to, their baby's death (Kelley and Trindad, 2012). Worldwide, there are 2.6 million stillbirths and 2.1 million neonatal deaths annually (Wang et al, 2016). In Ireland, approximately 1 in every 250 births is stillborn, and 1 in every 435 live births dies in the first 7 days of life (Health Services Executive (HSE), 2014). Miscarriage statistics are difficult to deduce, but the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) (2011) suggest that an average of 1 in 5 pregnancies miscarry. An estimated 0.8-2% of pregnancies end in second-trimester miscarriage (RCOG, 2011; Cullen et al, 2017).

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