Practical/clinical experience is a critical component of midwifery education programmes. The ICM Global Standards for Midwifery Education (2021) define midwifery education as “the process of learning theory and developing the necessary skills and behaviours to become competent midwives.”
Developing competency depends on bringing together theory, skills, and behaviours in a variety of interactions with childbearing families. Clinical/practical experience is where students increasingly integrate knowledge and skills, demonstrate critical thinking, and formulate plans of care that contribute to health and well-being. The practical experience component must be well planned and afford sufficient time to meet the Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice (2019).
This document contains advice and suggestions to help midwifery educators3 meet the ICM Global Standards for Midwifery Education that pertain to practical/clinical experience. Readers should review the entire Global Standards document to understand the context of the specific standards about practical/clinical experience.
Using this Document
The ICM Global Standards for Midwifery Education about practical/clinical experience are grouped into two categories:
- Standards about the physical sites for obtaining clinical experience, and the maternal-infant services provided in those sites;
- Standards about the roles of midwife educators, clinical preceptors/clinical teachers and students.
This document presents each standard regarding practical/clinical experience followed by a brief discussion and points for consideration when analysing how a programme of study meets the standard. The points for consideration help in determining what faculty and programme administrators need to put in place to ensure that the practical/clinical experience meets the ICM Standards and provides a positive and supportive experience for both the student and the clinical preceptor/clinical teacher.
Global Standards for Midwifery Education
The ICM Standards for Midwifery Education are an essential pillar of ICM’s efforts to strengthen midwifery worldwide by promoting high quality education programmes that prepare midwives who meet the ICM definition of a midwife.