Midwifery students' experiences of achieving competency for beginning practice
Licqurish, S and Seibold, C and McInerney, F, Midwifery students' experiences of achieving competency for beginning practice, British Journal of Midwifery, 21, (12) pp. 874-885. ISSN 0969-4900 (2013) [Refereed Article]
Three-year undergraduate Bachelor of Midwifery programmes were introduced into Australian universities in 2002 in response to the midwifery profession's changing political, economic and workforce needs and expectations of the midwife's role (Glover, 1999; Cutts et al, 2002; Leap, 2002). There was an identified need to broaden the entry pathways and structure of midwifery courses to make them accessible to those who did not hold a nursing qualification or experience. Expectations of the midwife's role and scope of midwifery practice in Australia were shifting 'from the biomedical, hospital-centric focus of pregnancy to one emphasising a "new midwifery" based on a midwife-woman partnership and evidencebased practice' (Seibold, 2005:10) and this was reflected in the new midwifery curriculum. This paper presents findings from a grounded theory study exploring the experiences of early Australian Bachelor of Midwifery students, graduating in 2005-2008, from a university in Victoria, Australia. The study was timely, as the first graduates from these courses had entered the profession in 2004 and these students' experiences had not been explored. The findings demonstrate how these students underwent a process of 'assimilation' to achieve competency for beginning practice. Assimilation involved three sub-processes: 'realisation', 'adaptation' and 'consolidation'.