Identification of third year midwifery skills that could benefit from simulated practice prior to clinical midwifery placements

Singaram, Kerry-Ann
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Neophyte midwifery students often feel anxious and inadequate during their clinical placements, as they are expected to perform midwifery skills as early as their first day in the clinical environment. Midwifery educators are seeking out creative ways to create practice opportunities for their students with regards to skills practice, and simulation as a teaching strategy offers a learning environment for safe practice of skills. The use of simulation in midwifery is a fairly new concept, and its future growth is dependent upon research to provide a sound base from which it may grow and develop to meet the needs of the students. The purpose of the study was to identify key midwifery skills that could be taught and practiced using simulation prior to student midwives’ clinical placements that would better equip student midwives to manage their midwifery clinical placements. Findings from the study could serve as a foundational basis for future midwifery simulated programs. The research design and method was qualitative in nature and data was collected from focus group discussions with fourth-year student nurses and their respective midwifery lecturers. Clinical facilitators who are based in the clinical environment and responsible for the training of third year midwifery students were invited to participate in the study, however, were unable to attend. The researcher felt that, this created a limitation to the study as they might have added additional information or a different perspective about novice midwifery skills training. Findings identified specific midwifery skills that could benefit from simulated practice as well as how best skills could be practiced within facilitation of simulation in third year midwifery practice. Summary of findings included the identification of the following midwifery skills that participants identified as being important with regards to simulated practice: completion of documentation; vaginal examinations; management of second stage of labour and offering of psychological support. IV, Participants together with the researcher gives suggestions on how best simulation can be facilitated for developing confidence in neophyte student midwives before their first clinical placement. Based on the findings of this research, recommendations were made to guide midwifery lecturers when planning simulation activities.
A research report submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Master of Science in Nursing to the Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2021