Collaborative working: Midwifery and Medicine
Our staff from the School of Healthcare Sciences and the School of Medicine developed an innovative project involving the joint teaching of second year medical students and third year student midwives at Cardiff University.
A newly appointed midwifery lecturer within the School of Healthcare Sciences in 2014, Libby Baraz utilised the opportunity afforded by a curriculum review within the School of Medicine to promote normal birth within the education setting.
Aware of a module introducing the pregnant woman within the new medical curriculum, Libby teamed up with a lecturer in Women’s Health Dr Victoria Logan who is also a clinical colleague on the labour ward, to formulate joint learning objectives for our respective students.
Developing a partnership
The ‘C21 curriculum’ in Cardiff University School of Medicine prepares future doctors in Wales for practice. Libby was committed to ensuring a fundamental understanding of the role of the midwife in normal childbirth, for the benefit of woman and the future of the midwifery profession in Wales and the UK.
The Bachelor of Midwifery (Honours) programme, prepares future midwives for practice and she was looking to enhance the teaching and learning experience for current undergraduate student midwives and to explore innovative projects. Being part of the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences enabled opportunities to collaborate across professional groups.
Teaching the simulation
The student midwives led on the teaching of normal birth practice, giving them the opportunity to consolidate their own knowledge and skills around antenatal abdominal palpation and mechanism of normal vaginal delivery. Small groups of 3-4 student midwives facilitated skills sessions for approximately 10-12 medical students. The total complement consisted of 32 student midwives and 175 medical students.
At each simulation station, student midwives provided a demonstration, explanation, interaction and opportunity for the medical students to participate in their first ever abdominal palpation and delivery of the fetus using models, dolls and pelves.
Student midwives celebrated the development of confidence, communication and presentation skills. They appreciated the huge area of learning and short time available within the medical curriculum to grasp normal concepts before moving on to explore pathology around childbirth. This strengthened student midwives’ belief in the value of midwives for woman and families.
Medical students acknowledged the sound knowledge base of the third year student midwives around normal birth, felt supported in their learning and valued the opportunity to interact with simulation in small peer group situations. Keen interaction between the groups was observed and there was mutual appreciation of respective roles.
There are clear benefits of promoting the role of the midwife as the expert in normal childbirth at this early and influential point in the future doctors’ careers.
Formal evaluation of the responses led to a poster presentation for innovation at the 2015 Association for Medical Education Conference in Edinburgh (Attitudes of medical students to interprofessional peer-teaching by students from allied health professions: An evaluation. Authors: Victoria Logan, Elizabeth Baraz, Hannah Shaw, Ellen Parker, Steve Riley).
Looking to the future
The future of midwifery at Cardiff University is strengthened by this educational achievement and the model is easily transferable to all areas of the UK where universities have student midwives and medical students studying. The project is celebrated because after just one timetabled day, every third year student midwife had met every second year medical student in Cardiff. Respective roles were appreciated, respected and encouraged, making for a great future for multidisciplinary working and ultimately of benefit to our women and babies.
If you would like more information on this Interprofessional Education case study, get in touch.
Lecturer in Midwifery at Cardiff University