The preceptorship of student midwives : a case study

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- Midwifery preceptors play an important role in the development of craft knowledge of student midwives on practice placement. The role of the preceptor is multifaceted and includes facilitating the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes. The role of preceptor is usually commenced following a short course on precepting. Once in the role there is minimal ongoing support. Although there are many studies relating to various aspects of precepting there has been minimal research exploring preceptors’ understanding of how they facilitate student learning and function in their role. The purpose of this study was to explore how midwife preceptors facilitate the development of student midwives’ craft knowledge. In particular, this research sought to describe the relationship between preceptor and student and the processes and strategies utilised by preceptors to facilitate the development of craft knowledge. The research was conducted as a case study of midwifery preceptors in two maternity units in western Sydney. The data collection was influenced by ethnographic methods and data analysis utilised template analysis with templates derived from Titchen’s (2000) Critical Companionship Framework. Alternating interviews (four) and observations (three) were conducted with each of the four midwifery preceptor participants. The study revealed that the midwife preceptors have insight into how they precept and this insight was reflective of the domains described by Titchen (2000) that comprise the Critical Companionship Framework. Midwifery preceptors have a primary focus on relationship development with the student they are precepting. Facilitation of student development is reliant upon the processes and strategies they were exposed to as students, with minimal understanding of the students’ curriculum content and course requirements. There is a reliance on the use of processes and strategies that were lower order with minimal use of more complex processes and strategies. The situation and milieux have a large influence on the capacity to precept effectively. There appears a need for preceptor courses to better prepare preceptors for their role. For precepting to be successful it also needs to require more active support from both university and hospital.
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