Monday, February 21, 2011

Spotlight on new graduate midwives

Midwifery education is in the news again in New Zealand following the death of a baby at a birth attended by a new graduate midwife. The case is sitting with the coroner at the moment and we're waiting to hear his verdict.

At the moment, new graduate midwives are eligible to be mentored for one year by a paid mentor as part of the New Zealand College of Midwives First Year of Midwifery Practice Program. But it is possible that the coroner will make recommendations for this program to become compulsory.

If this is the case and the recommendation is taken up by the government, additional funding will be required. The other issue that will need watching is how the coroner (and others) see the support of new graduates... as a mentoring model or more of a supervision format. And if the FYMPP becomes more of a supervision model, all sorts of questions will need to be answered, not least how it will fit with undergraduate education.

Needless to say, midwives will be watching closely for the verdict of this coroner's report.


Joy Johnston said...

Sarah this tragic case has been in Australian media too.

I am interested in your opinion on the issues in mentoring vs supervision for graduate midwives, or for midwives moving out of maternity hospital employment into a new practice sphere, such as private practice and homebirth.

ps - my thoughts and prayers for all who are facing loss and danger as a result of today's earthquake in Christchurch.

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Joy...yes, I did wonder if the Australian medics would hone in on this case for obvious reasons.

As for your question, clearly mentoring is required, I would argue, for all midwives...whatever their practice. I do wonder if we could do with a supervision model which is similar to the UK model? We have the Standards Review process, but that only comes around every 2 years.

I am extremely reluctant to say that midwives need supervision as in someone looking over their shoulder and ticking off competency. New grads are deemed to be competent as they become registered. However, what I would say is that new grads should always have some sort of practice partner and that the support of new grads is the responsibility of all midwives.