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Program Overview

The Midwifery Education Program combines a mix of health, social, and biological sciences. The curriculum is taught using a variety of formats including in-class tutorials, on-line synchronous and asychronous learning, and clinical midwifery and interprofessional placements.  Ryerson has a 4 year full-time degree program, a 5 or 6 year part-time degree program and an accellerated 2 year degree program for people with a baccalaureate in a related health field and who have labour and delivery experience.

The Midwifery Education Program is divided into the pre-clinical phase of the program which can be completed in 1 1/2 -3 1/2 years and the clinical phase of the program which is completed in 2 1/2 years.  The clinical phase requires a full-time commitment and usually involves significant on-call expectations.

Prior to graduation, students attend a minimum of 60 births, acting as primary caregiver for at least 40 births in home and hospital settings. During their studies, students also participate in providing prenatal and postpartum care in midwifery clinics and in clients' homes. Like the profession, the program is very demanding and equally rewarding.

Preclinical Program

Classes in the pre-clinical phase of the program typically have 15- 35 students. Pre-clinical courses are typically held on campus in face to face classrooms.

The pre-clinical academic courses provide students with a strong foundation in the health and social sciences. Required health science courses include anatomy and physiology, pharmacotherapy, biochemistry and reproductive physiology. Students are also introduced to the principles of clinical research and develop an understanding of how to evaluate the results of research studies.

Since the social and cultural contexts in which new parents and families are situated affect the care they require, students examine issues such as violence in the home, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation. Issues such as women's roles in society, public policy relating to women and reproduction, and the organization of health care are studied in order to understand midwifery in the context of Canadian society. In addition, students are introduced to professionally-related topics such as the history and current regulatory context of midwifery provincially, nationally, and internationally. All MEP students take a course in Aboriginal childbearing.

Students are required to take 5 elective courses in addition to their required pre-clinical courses. Of these one must be professionally related, two must be social science courses and two must be women's studies courses.

Students registered in the full-time and part-time programs must complete all pre-clinical courses prior to beginning the clinical phase of the program.

Clinical Program

The clinical phase of the program is full-time and cannot be completed on a part-time basis.

Students spend six terms in full-time clincial placements. Four terms are spent in midwifery clinical placements and two terms are spent in interprofessional placements.

Students are responsible for providing their own transportation to clinical and community sites and to clients' homes. Students are required to have a computer in order to access course outlines, conduct literature searches, and receive program communication. Clinical placements often require being on-call 24hrs a day, and students must orgainze their work and life schedules to accommodate the demands of clinical work.

During the midwifery clinical placements, students develop clinical skills while providing care for clients and their babies throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and up to six weeks postpartum. Students work under the supervision of midwife preceptors and are placed in at least two different midwifery clinics during their time in the MEP. 

Students in their midwifery placements are typically on 24 hour call and require the use of a car to be able to attend births in hospitals, clients' homes and other out of hospital settings. The majority of students are able to be placed in the geographic region of their choice, but there is a possibility that students may need to relocate for some placements.

The clinical placement courses require full-time participation, and it is not possible to maintain employment while enrolled in clinical courses.

In the clinical courses students are introduced to a variety of clinical skills and supported to develop competence in an increasingly complex range of clinical and counseling skills as a primary health care provider. A number of the clinical courses are augmented by university based intensives, lasting from three to seven days. Intensives provide opportunities for concentrated introduction to specific areas of skill and knowledge prior to entering a clinical placement.

Beginning in the first placement, students are conducting prenatal visits, taking medical histories and conducting physical exams of midwifery clients and their babies, including collecting blood and other lab specimens. Students are involved in providing care during labour  including conducting deliveries with assistance. Students are taught to provide information and advice to clients on a range of clinical and counseling topics, and will be given increasing responsibility with each clinical term. Students are expected to demonstrate increasing competence in clinical and communication skills, clinical judgment, and professional behaviour. By the final clinical placement, referred to as the clerkship, students are able to function independently, providing comprehensive midwifery care.

The midwifery clinical courses combine academic work with clinical learning. A problem based learning approach is taken in the clinical courses. The first three midwifery clinical placement courses include weekly small group tutorial sessions which focus on the acquisition of academic knowledge relevant to midwifery and obstetrical topics. Course work includes review of relevant research literature, presentations, academic papers, group discussions and written exams. In the clerkship, tutorials are typically every other week providing students with opportunities for presentation of cases, in addition to midterm and final written exams.

These two courses [MWF 220 | MWF 350] consist of a series of  three to four-week placements over a 6 month period.

Mandatory placements include a hospital labour and delivery (L&D) placement, an obstetric practice placement, a breastfeeding placement, and a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) placement. Supervision is provided by interprofessional practitioners including obstetricians, nurses and lactation consultants. Students will be provided an opportunity to increase clinical skills in addition to developing an enhanced understanding of the role and function of members of the maternity care team.  In addition to the mandatory placements, students have additional experiences in a variety of settings relating to maternity care, women's and/or infant health issues and research and policy.

The Midwifery Education Program is designed to provide students with sufficient clinical experience to meet the following requirements of the  College of Midwives of Ontario:
 

  • Attendance at a minimum of 60 births
  • Students must be involved as a primary care-provider for 40 of the 60 births
  • 10 births must be at home, 5 as a primary care-provider
  • 10 births must be in the hospital
  • Student involvement in 30 births must include continuity of care through pregnancy, labour, birth and the postpartum (the first six weeks after birth)