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Midwifery Education and Quality of Care for the Mother and Baby
Why is midwifery education crucial to maintaining the quality of care? How can institutions improve their educational strategies? Read Here!
Midwives are qualified professionals with the knowledge and skills to care for pregnant women, newborn infants, and families. Midwifery education allows students to understand the physical, biological, anatomical, and physiological aspects of pregnancy, birth, and parenthood.
A midwife provides compassionate care across the continuum from pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and infant’s early weeks of life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), midwifery plays a critical role in improving the quality of care while reducing maternal and newborn mortality rates.
However, this requires evidence-based and competency-based education and training. Every woman and newborn has the right to quality care because it leads to a positive childbirth experience. This includes:
- Respect and dignity
- Clear communication by maternity staff
- Mobility in labor and birth positions
- Pain relief strategies
How to Improve Midwifery Education?
Evidence-based and innovative midwifery education develops a solid foundation for a highly competent, qualified, confident, and skilled midwifery profession. Over the past two years, the Covid-19 pandemic stunned the health sector worldwide and required a quick and efficient transition to online learning for a practice-based profession. The following strategies can be used by educational institutions to improve midwifery education:
Curriculums are primarily responsible for providing appropriate education and facilitating learning in midwifery. Institutions must, however, develop a transparent curriculum that focuses on learning objectives, learning activities, practice, and assessment of learning outcomes.
Research shows that successful midwifery education follows a curriculum that is updated continuously because it enables and realizes students' underlying potential without compromising qualification quality. To overcome the challenges of pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum, students need to be equipped with skills developed by professionals with years of experience and extensive knowledge of changing healthcare needs.
Clinical Leadership and Research Skills
A 2018 research study published on NCBI highlights that accurate midwifery practice is characterized by expertise, management, and clinical leadership skills. The purpose is to provide women and infants with evidence-based, reliable, and tailored care.
Clinical leadership and research skills allow students to learn and practice tailored care for women independently and autonomously. Students, who are midwives of the future, can use their research skills and professional leadership to evaluate and improve practice.
In addition, educational institutions must focus on informative, formative curricula and transformative learning. An informative curriculum for midwifery students allows them to acquire knowledge and skills, whereas the formative one enables them to socialize around values.
A transformative curriculum, on the other hand, is the most effective way to develop and improve leadership, communication, teamwork, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. Therefore, these three factors are integral to midwifery education, allowing future midwives to maintain quality care for the mother and the child.
Simulation-based education is a reliable method for developing midwifery competencies. In a 2018 study, researchers found that artificial dolls and pelvises helped students simulate palpitations, neonatal resuscitation and labor mechanisms.
However, high-fidelity simulation via advanced manikins in midwifery students’ skills training can improve their performance in various aspects of maternity and childbirth. For example, students can effectively manage material resuscitation and make informed decisions during obstetric emergencies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that simulation can increase interaction between teachers and students and improve skill performance through experiential learning. It also enhances midwifery students’ self-confidence and critical thinking skills, enabling them to evaluate these abilities during the simulation experience.
Moreover, according to DEAKIN University, Australia, virtual reality (VR) simulation is an excellent method and practical means of circumventing limitations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic because face-to-face interaction and clinical education/practice in hospitals can increase infection rates.
Thus, investing in VR simulation equipment is an excellent way to provide students with an immersive and controlled environment to practice repeatedly, learn from their mistakes, and improve their clinical skills. VR-based immersive simulation allows midwifery students to enhance skills, such as:
- Critical thinking
- Health assessment
- Real-time immersive experience
- Repeated practice
Although educational institutions have implemented various strategies to improve midwifery education and equip students with state-of-the-art resources and education, the high maternal and neonatal mortality rates in different countries are a massive challenge.
While there is a need for more research, the above strategies can transform the midwifery education landscape and improve the quality of care for the mother and baby.