Norwegian midwives' opinion of their midwifery education - a mixed methods study


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BioMed Central

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Background Midwifery education in Norway has undergone radical reforms in the past few decades. In 2004, the compulsory year of paid internship was removed from the requirement to become an authorised midwife. Since then, authorisation as a midwife depends on the successful completion of a two-year full-time academic course, consisting of 50% clinical practice and 50% theoretical education. Our objective was to examine midwives’ opinion of their Norwegian midwifery education in relation to their midwifery practice, comparing those educated with internship to those without. Methods We performed a mixed-methods study based on data from a nationwide cross-sectional survey. A sample of 547 midwives completed a postal questionnaire, autumn 2014. Midwives were asked how they were educated, how their education prepared them for practice (multiple choice) and to freely comment on their midwifery education. Thematic analysis and descriptive and comparative analysis was used. Data sets were analysed independently and jointly interpreted. Results Of our sample, 154 (28.2%) were educated through a two-year midwifery education without internship, while 393 (71.8%) had a one-year midwifery education with internship. Compared to midwives who had internship, midwives without were four times more likely to report that their education did not, or only partially prepare them for their work as a midwife. The association lost its significance when adjusted for experience as a midwife. According to the qualitative data, the primary reason for the association was insufficient clinical practice during education. Relevant clinical placement, ample practice time with good preceptorship and internship were proposed as methods to prepare for practice as a midwife. The theory–practice gap was highlighted as another hindrance to being prepared for practice. Conclusions Academisation of the midwifery education has resulted in newly qualified midwives feeling less prepared for practice. Midwives would have liked more time for clinical practice and simulation training of core midwifery clinical skills included in the education. Midwifery educations need to explore ways to achieve a good balance between practice and theory. Workplaces need to explore alternative ways to internship to assist new graduates to become confident midwives with a strong midwifery identity




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