Learning to be a midwife: Midwifery students' experiences of an extended placement within a midwifery group practice.

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Women and birth : journal of the Australian College of Midwives, 2021
Issue Date:
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To investigate the experiences, perspectives and plans of students who had a six-month placement with the midwifery group practice.


Focus groups were conducted with fifteen third - year Bachelor of Midwifery students who had undertaken an extended placement at a midwifery group practice in a large tertiary referral hospital in Queensland, Australia.


Four main themes were identified in the data: Expectations of the Placement; Facilitating learning within a midwifery group practice model; Transitioning between models of care and Philosophy and culture of midwifery group practice.

Discussion and conclusion

Third-year midwifery students valued the experience of working one-on-one for an extended placement with a midwife providing continuity of care within a caseload model. The experience was the highlight of their degree and they learned 'how to be a midwife'. Most students found reintegrating back into the hospital system of care challenging, reporting that their developed skills of supporting women holistically and facilitating normal birth were not fully utilised when returning to the task-orientated birth suite. Students valued thoughtful, kind and supportive midwifery preceptors who supported them to transition back into the hospital.

Implications and recommendations

Undertaking an extended placement within a midwifery group practice provides students with a rich and holistic learning experience and helps them develop a sense of professional identity. Student placements situated within models of care which provide continuity of midwifery care should be proactively enabled by health services and universities. Research of the longer-term impacts of an extended midwifery group practice clinical placement on midwifery graduates' capabilities and competencies 3-5 years post registration should be conducted.
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