Aims and objective
the aim of this study was to examine the attitudes of student midwives towards skills training and practise. The objectives were to explore the factors in the skills laboratory environment and in clinical practice which affect how successfully student midwives transfer into clinical practice the various skills they have learnt in preparation for an Objective Structured Clinical Examination.
a review of the background literature revealed that there were many variables related to successful transfer of skills in general but there appeared to be a gap around perceived factors affecting transfer of skills of student midwives.
a mixed methods design was conducted using both questionnaires and semi-structured interviews between June and August 2010.
questionnaires were administered to all midwifery students at one university in Wales. These were later followed by semi-structured interviews for 6 student midwives who were purposively selected from all year groups.
the results from the questionnaires revealed that a majority of students had positive attitudes to educators and mentors and to their skills acquisition experience in the skills laboratory and to the available opportunities to practise in clinical practice. Although students believed in the transferability of skills from the laboratory setting to clinical practice, a majority thought that clinical practice provided them with a better opportunity to learn clinical skills. The semi-structured interviews demonstrated that facilitating factors in the skills laboratory included having adequate instruction as well as having a designated space. Hindering factors included unrealistic models and equipment. In clinical practice, facilitating factors included having the opportunities to practise skills and support and feedback from the mentor. Hindering factors included deficits in the student–mentor relationship.
this study highlighted that midwifery students must be adequately prepared to carry out clinical skills competently and effectively. Educators and mentors must provide adequate support and feedback to promote transfer of knowledge and skills into the workplace to optimise high standards of care for women and their babies