A case study of SWIM with ME : matching a model of student education to a continuity of care model in midwifery

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Maternity services are required to provide relevant midwifery education to employed Graduate Diploma of midwifery students, which fulfils the requirements of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) for midwifery registration. One of the requirements is for each student to “follow through” a number of women from early in their pregnancy until 4 weeks after the birth of their baby. At the same time the maternity service is also required to provide choice for women in relation to a particular model of care known as ‘continuity of care’. Continuity of midwifery care is a consistent philosophy or organisational structure underpinning the care provided by midwives across the antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal periods which is different to the concept of continuity of carer. Continuity of midwifery carer describes care by a midwife whom the woman has previously met, feels she has developed a ‘relationship’ with and believes she knows’ (Homer, Brodie & Leap, 2008). Continuity of midwifery care experience (CoMCE) means the ongoing midwifery relationship between the student and the woman from initial contact in early pregnancy through to the weeks immediately after the woman has given birth, across the interface between community and hospital settings (ANMC, 2009). The intention of providing the continuity of care experience for the education of student midwives to is to enable students to experience continuity with individual women irrespective of the availability of midwifery continuity of care models (ACM advice to the ANMC National Accreditation Standards project 2008–09). In the context of this study it is the continuity of midwifery care experience (CoMCE) which is being explored. For many organisations, meeting these simultaneous requirements for the care of women and the education of student midwives is difficult to achieve. This study will use case study methodology to describe in detail how one organisation has addressed this issue through a model of midwifery education in clinical practice. Aspects of this case may resonate with midwives and maternity service managers attempting to match the model of midwifery continuity of care with student midwife clinical education.
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