The Virtual Maternity Clinic: a teaching and learning innovation for midwifery education

Diane Phillips, Maxine Duke, Cate Nagle, Susie Macfarlane, Gery Karantzas, Denise Patterson
Nurse Education Today 2013, 33 (10): 1224-9

BACKGROUND: There are challenges for midwifery students in developing skill and competency due to limited placements in antenatal clinics. The Virtual Maternity Clinic, an online resource, was developed to support student learning in professional midwifery practice.

OBJECTIVES: Identifying students' perceptions of the Virtual Maternity Clinic; learning about the impact of the Virtual Maternity Clinic on the students' experience of its use and access; and learning about the level of student satisfaction of the Virtual Maternity Clinic.

DESIGN: Two interventions were used including pre and post evaluations of the online learning resource with data obtained from questionnaires using open ended and dichotomous responses and rating scales. The pre-Virtual Maternity Clinic intervention used a qualitative design and the post-Virtual Maternity Clinic intervention applied both qualitative and quantitative approaches.

SETTINGS: Three campuses of Deakin University, located in Victoria, Australia.

PARTICIPANTS: Midwifery students enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Midwifery and Graduate Diploma of Midwifery were recruited across three campuses of Deakin University (n=140).

METHODS: Thematic analysis of the pre-Virtual Maternity Clinic intervention (return rate n=119) related to students' expectations of this resource. The data for the post-Virtual Maternity Clinic intervention (return rate n=42) including open-ended responses were thematically analysed; dichotomous data examined in the form of frequencies and percentages of agreement and disagreement; and 5-rating scales were analysed using Pearson's correlations (α=.05, two-tailed).

RESULTS: Results showed from the pre-Virtual Maternity Clinic intervention that students previously had placements in antenatal clinics were optimistic about the online learning resource. The post-Virtual Maternity Clinic intervention results indicated that students were satisfied with the Virtual Maternity Clinic as a learning resource despite some technological issues.

CONCLUSIONS: The Virtual Maternity Clinic provides benefits for students in repeated observation of the practice of the midwife to support their professional learning and practice development.

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