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.