Evaluating service provision for midwifery education: a case study

Kayembe, F. (2015) Evaluating service provision for midwifery education: a case study. In: NET2015 Conference, 8th-9th September, 2015, Churchill College, University of Cambridge. (Unpublished)

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In keeping with the ethos of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), related Key Information Sets (KIS) and National Student Survey (HEFCE 2012), the local university’s five year strategic plan 2011-15 (Strategic Plan 2011) includes at its heart investing in the student experience with a curriculum that is flexible and responsive to changes both within and outside the university, and offering a ‘high quality university experience’ through innovative methods of learning. As part of a varied array of teaching, learning and assessment facilities, the university boasts of skills lab services which increasingly provide a unique opportunity for student midwives to practice clinical skills in a safe environment which ultimately prepares them to be fit for practice at the point of registration (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) 2009). However, there has not been a formal evaluation of this service to date.


This study set out to evaluate the current service provided for pre-registration midwifery students in the university skills lab in order to establish current standard, provide a benchmark for future development, and contribute to the students’ learning experience.


Using a case study approach, a representative convenient sample of users of the service was studied. Participants included 7 third year and 3 first year students from the pre-registration midwifery programme based on one of the two university campus sites, and 2 midwifery lecturers plus 2 skills lab support staff working across both campuses. All participants were asked about their experience of using the skills labs. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using a thematic approach and NVivo software. Student focus groups and staff one-to-one interviews were carried out, as well as observation of activity in the skills lab. Relevant document analysis was also undertaken.


The main themes emerging from analysis of the data include the following: both staff and students felt that there was more theory than practice in the teaching and learning activities in the skills lab; that the management of time and communication around the assessment process in the skills lab could be improved; that the quality and authenticity of equipment and facilities could be improved; that capacity issues, consisting of an interaction between student numbers, time and space management in the lab, had a negative impact on the learning experience; and that better communication amongst users overall could further improve the service.


Whilst some of the findings support the literature, there appears to be some new information particularly related to student perceptions of the theory - practice ratio of sessions, and capacity issues impacting on learning. The author makes several recommendations for educational institutions providing a skills lab service including the following: Educational institutions should
• explore innovative teaching strategies such as the blended approach which would allow more time for students to spend on hands-on practice in the lab,
• explore strategies to enhance the authenticity of the equipment to improve the students’ learning experience in the lab,
• develop better communication systems and appropriate management of timetables, coupled with clear guidelines for staff-student ratios in order to address capacity issues; clear communication around assessment that takes into account individual students’ unique needs must also be ensured.


The author recognises that this study was primarily based on the experience of students from one out of two university campuses admitting pre-registration midwifery students. This was due to time constraints related to the timetable for the Master’s study. It would therefore be useful to consider further research that encompasses the experience of students from both campus sites as well as addressing possible issues surrounding parity of experience across sites.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics > RG0551 Pregnancy > RG0940 Maternal care. Prenatal care services
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Wellbeing > School of Public Health, Midwifery and Social Work
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Faith Kayembe
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2015 16:29
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 10:26
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/13903

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00