Should Midwifery Educators be Required to Maintain Clinical Practice?

Rena Porteous, RM, MHSc

This paper presents the results of a literature search on the role of clinical practice for midwifery educators. University-based midwifery education in Canada has a short history, with Ontario first admitting students in 1993, Quebec in 1999 and British Columbia in 2002. Although the move to formal, accredited programs has increased the rigour and uniformity of education, it also poses challenges to learning. One such challenge is overcoming the theorypractice gap, a challenge shared by other health disciplines. Studies from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom suggest that college and university-based midwifery and nurse educators are isolated from clinical practice and decision-making. Most lecturers surveyed in these studies viewed clinical teaching as fulfilling a requirement for clinical practice. Few were actually in clinical practice. This precipitated the perception by staff and clinical managers that midwifery and nursing educators were not clinically credible. Studies uniformly conclude that organizational structures must be created to support the practice role of health professions' educators within the educator's academic and practice positions. The concerns identified in the international literature inform issues currently faced by midwifery education programs in Canada.

midwifery educators, theory-practice gap, clinical competence, clinical credibility

This article has been peer-reviewed.


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