Facilitating Formative Feedback in Midwifery Education: A Narrative Review

Facilitating Formative Feedback in Midwifery Education: A Narrative Review


Emma Seager, RM, BASc, BHSc, MSc, Beth Murray-Davis, RM, PhD and Anne Malott, RM, PhD




Background: Effective formative feedback is an important educational intervention in clinical learning. Receiving formative feedback enhances knowledge and skill acquisition and promotes reflective practice. The provision of feedback is a critical component of this education and requires a bidirectional process between learner and preceptor. Despite this critical role in health profession learning, there has been limited exploration of how preceptors provide feedback in the Ontario midwifery education setting.

Aim: To determine strategies for how formative feedback could be provided in the Ontario midwifery education setting to maximize students’ clinical learning.

Methods: We conducted a narrative literature review using PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE, and CINAHL databases. Following our initial search, each title and abstract was assessed for inclusion for full text review. The final data set was reviewed and coded in order to undertake a descriptive thematic analysis.

Findings: There is little Ontario-specific midwifery feedback literature. Thematic analysis identified that understanding best practices for feedback, preparing both student and preceptor for a feedback relationship, and using a written format and a standardized assessment tool for feedback are strategies that can optimize learning in the clinical setting. The need for improved formative feedback provision has been identified in other midwifery jurisdictions, resulting in the introduction of workplace-based assessment tools to provide structured, high-quality feedback. The introduction of such a tool, specifically the midwifery mini-clinical evaluation exercise tool, may promote improved learning for students.



education, feedback, midwifery, competency-based education


This article has been peer reviewed.


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