The 'follow-through' experience in three-year Bachelor of Midwifery programs in Australia: A survey of students

Churchill Livingstone
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Nurse Education in Practice, 2012, 12 (5), pp. 258 - 263
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The follow-through experience in Australian midwifery education is a strategy that requires midwifery students to follow a number of women through pregnancy, labour and birth and into the parenting period. The experience was introduced by the Australian College of Midwives as part of national standards for the three-year Bachelor of Midwifery programs. Anecdotally, the introduction caused considerable debate. A criticism was that these experiences were incorporated with little evidence of their value. An online survey was undertaken to explore the follow-through experience from the perspectives of current and former students. There were 101 respondents, 93 current students with eight recent graduates. Participants were positive about developing relationships with women. They also identified aspects of the follow-through experience that were challenging. Support to assist with the experience was often lacking and the documentation required varied. Despite these difficulties, 75% felt it should be mandatory as it facilitated positive learning experiences. The follow-through experience ensured that students were exposed to midwifery continuity of care. The development of relationships with women was an important aspect of learning. Despite these challenges, there were significant learning opportunities. Future work and research needs to ensure than an integrated approach is taken to enhance learning.
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