Midwives – adaptable and dynamic: reflections on midwifery education transformation during the Covid-19 pandemic
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School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom
Publication date: 2023-10-24
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Grace S. Thomas   

School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A196
We could never have anticipated the immense impact that the Covid-19 pandemic had on midwifery education globally. The profound and surprising consequences have been far-reaching, not only on a personal and professional level, but across all groups of midwives – from students to educators, researchers and practice-based supervisors, as well as clinical midwives, managers and leaders. Overnight, education programmes, which traditionally have been delivered face-to-face, had to be switched to online virtual delivery and midwifery educators had to learn about digital technologies very quickly. Students had to cope with significant changes, with synchronous and asynchronous learning requiring self-motivation. Placement learning was also challenging as students needed to be supported to achieve clinical skills and competencies while wearing full PPE and dealing with the constant stress of contracting Covid and taking this to family members. The need for emotional and psychological support increased significantly and educators needed to develop innovative and dynamic ways to support learning to enable the pipeline of graduates to continue. This presentation will share three publications that I have co-authored during the pandemic which study the effects of the pandemic on midwifery education, from experiences of Lead Midwives for Education who organised extended placements for students1, to the attitudes of student midwives to online learning2. The third paper considers how to sustain quality education during a pandemic and beyond, critically appraising the learning, so as to adapt it to any future situations3. Reflecting on this last three years is essential and the immense learning can be applied globally. What these papers all show is that midwives are adaptable and dynamic.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
There is no funding for this research.
Cooke A, Hancock A, White H, et al. Exploring the STEP-uP to practice: A survey of UK Lead Midwives for Education views of the STudent midwife Extended Practice Placement during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Midwifery. 2021;101:103048. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2021.103048
Lacey N, Thomas G. 'The sudden shift' — an evaluation of the attitudes of student midwives to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. MIDIRS Midwifery Digest. 2022;32(2)
Renfrew MJ, Bradshaw G, Burnett A, et al. Sustaining quality education and practice learning in a pandemic and beyond: 'I have never learnt as much in my life, as quickly, ever'. Midwifery. 2021;94:102915. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2020.102915
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