Student-led virtual antenatal classes: enhancing student autonomy and tackling placement capacity issues

Brown, Paula (2022) Student-led virtual antenatal classes: enhancing student autonomy and tackling placement capacity issues. In: 2022 Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Education and Research Conference, 23-24 March 2022, Coventry, UK. (Unpublished)

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The Midwifery Expansion Project, funded by Health Education England, provided an opportunity to promote change of tradition and culture in the provision of practice learning, within midwifery education. The project responded to national guidance set out in the Better births report (National Maternity Review 2016), the Maternity Transformation Programme (MTP), the standards of proficiency for midwives (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) 2019) and the standards for student supervision and assessment (NMC 2018). The project presented a unique opportunity for regional higher education institutions to think about practice learning environments in a different way, exploring innovative models of student learning to tackle capacity issues. At the university, we faced issues with both placement capacity and the effects of COVID-19 on learning opportunities for students. Our partner trusts were shortstaffed, activities such as antenatal classes were stopped, and resources directed to essential care. Working collaboratively with the MEP Northeast and North Cumbria, I designed, and successfully piloted, virtual student-led antenatal classes for local women and their partners. For our students these classes have increased their sense of autonomy as well as improving presentation skills. For local women and their partners, they provide a valuable service. The classes were designed with involvement from our local Maternity Voices Partnership groups. Content of the sessions is womenled, which also promotes adaptability, flexibility, and the art of ‘thinking fast’ for our students. The classes allow us to tackle the ‘bottlenecks’ we have with placement capacity by taking students out of practice to facilitate them. The classes are welcomed by both of our partner trusts and are completely university-run, so no additional resources are required from an already stretched maternity service. The classes are organised and run entirely by our third-year students with some support from second-year students.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2018). Part 2: Standards for student supervision and assessment. [Accessed 18 February 2022].
Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2019). Standards of proficiency for midwives. [Accessed 18 February 2022].

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Institute of Health > Midwifery
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2023 16:09
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 13:16


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