Saturday, July 9, 2011

What are the issues facing midwifery education today?

I have to write an essay for my EdD: A critical review of the major educational issues related to the participant’s own professional practice.

This essay is designed to start me thinking about what I am going to look at for my research thesis.

"This assignment is not about some general educational issues, but issues that are specifically related to your own work, your own practice. These issues should also be related (directly or indirectly) to your thesis research."

To be honest, I haven't clue what to do for my research. I am interested in so many things. Life is further complicated by the fact I wear two hats - one as midwifery lecturer and the other as educational facilitator/developer. So I don't feel I am any closer to having a topic decided on than I did six months ago when I started my EdD.

What I have noticed over the last few months is I am getting far more midwifery "gigs" than anything else - in the last couple of weeks I have been asked to help out with the designing of a midwifery program for Pakistan as well as develop a midwifery curriculum in Nepal. So I am thinking my research will be focused on midwifery education.

In terms of my own practice, one issue is the globalization of midwifery education. How do we maintain consistency and make sure we all teach from the same page? Do we need to? How can we support midwifery educators in resource-poor countires who are endeavoring to teach midwives to work in the most trying of circumstances. How can we share resources that can be contextulised freely?

The other big issue in my own practice is blended delivery of undergraduate midwifery education. How do I engage students with the online delivery of content that can be integrated into clinical practice? How do I support students who are very focused on content delivery to move to being life-long learners? How do we integrate clinical practice and academic learning into a portfolio environment which sets students up and ready to go once they are registered midwives and subject to professional and statutory regulations?

So this leads me to ask those of you who are midwives, students or anyone interested, what do you think are the issues that face midwifery education today...not just undergraduate, but ongoing education for midwives once they are registered?


Anne Marie Cunningham said...

Hi Sarah,
I think it is a great idea to ask the people on the ground what the issues are. I've picked up that competency and portfolios are very big issues throughout medical education. So I might take my thesis in that direction as they are unlikely to disappear of the agenda any time soon.
Look forward to hearing what you get up to!

Sara Murray said...

Here's something to throw the cat among the pigeons Sarah. In the research I'm interested in, I'm confronting the assumption that the "best-practice" research in education is based upon a Westernised perception of the world, with an individualistic assumption. When considering research in mid-wifery and wondering how you can globalise education and consistency - is that even appropriate to do across all cultures??
Sara Murray

Denise Hynd said...

dear Sarah,
I wish midwifery education and the college were primarly concerned about how to get midwives to understand, trust and facilitate physiological birth, which also requires the woman to nest and work with her body and baby. As it rarely happens outside of an environment that is not the woman's home it is often counter to what happens where most women birth and where most midwives practice!! 86% NZ births occur in secondary & tertiary units so NZ intervention rates are not far behind Australia but unlike the UK and Canada I see litlle effort in NZ to reverse these trends & midwifery practice contributes to these interventions!!

jamal said...

Hi Sarah,

Sorry its not a comment but rather a question (not related to this post).

Can you suggest any open source
e-mentoring tool to me which I want to use in a project to enable mentor-mentee interaction?

Many thanks.

Sarah Stewart said...

Hello everyone, thanks so much for your comments. Am really busy at the moment so will reply properly when I get a moment at the weekend.

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Jamal

As for e-mentoring, it really depends what you want to do, where and when. If its one-to-one asychronous discussion, email is as good as anything. If you want real time meetings, I would use Skype with webcam. To give a more detailed answer I really need to know more about the context you are working with.

Sarah Stewart said...

Finally getting around to thinking about this.

@Anne Marie The competency issue and portfolio is a relevant one in midwifery education and certainly one that I'm thinking about at the moment.

@Sara You're right to ask the question you did. It's isn't appropriate to inflict western ideals on midwives in developing countries. But there are basic tenets that are common throughout the world.

@Denise I am now teaching midwifery in Australia so I cannot comment about NZ any more. The challenge for us in Au is getting students to think how they'd practice as autonomous midwives outside the context of the hospital.