INTRODUCTION: Clinical placements are an integral part of midwifery education and are crucial for achieving professional competencies. Although students' experiences on placements have been shown to play a meaningful role in their learning, they have received scant attention in the literature. The aim of this paper is to describe the learning experiences of final-year student midwives in labor wards within the Brussels metropolitan region, Belgium.

METHODS: A qualitative exploratory study was conducted using two focus groups (N=20). Data analysis included: transcription of audio recordings, thematic content analysis with coding into recurrent and common themes, and broader categories. Discussions among researchers were incorporated in all phases of the analysis for integrity and data fit.

RESULTS: Data analysis identified the following categories as determining student learning experiences in labor wards: 1) managing opportunities, 2) being supported, and 3) dealing with the environment. Overall, respondents were positive and enthusiastic about their learning experiences, although some felt tense and unprepared. Students expressed concerns about differences in learning opportunities between placements and found it challenging to achieve all competencies. Student learning experiences were enhanced when they had placements for longer periods with the same supportive mentors.

CONCLUSIONS: Factors related to students' functioning, the healthcare professional, midwifery education and hospital environment affected their learning in labor wards. The combination of a more persevered preparation of students and mentors, together with a student-centered organization of placements, is crucial to create a positive learning experience for midwifery students in labor wards.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's8
TijdschriftEuropean Journal of Midwifery
Nummer van het tijdschrift15
StatusPublished - 29 aug 2019

Bibliografische nota

© 2019 Vermeulen J.


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