“Here It Is Not Like at Home”: Cross-Cultural Competencies for Midwives

Cathy Ellis, RM, BFA, MSc

Cross-cultural competence in midwifery practice is an important skill when caring for childbearing women from different cultural backgrounds. Cross-cultural competence has many definitions and technical, professional, and personal skills vary by profession. In the midwifery profession it can be achieved through improved education curricula, greater faculty and student diversity, and the opportunity for students and faculty to participate in global placements. At the University of British Columbia (UBC), the Division of Midwifery has developed a 6-8 week Global Midwifery placement as an option during the end of the third year of the program. Students who experience a global placement face many challenges and a thorough orientation on local custom and expectations should occur. The benefits of an international placement experience are numerous, including increased cultural sensitivity and awareness of global health issues, skills to adapt to a low-resource environment and improved communication skills. Planning for an international placement program is discussed in this article from the perspective of an overseas placement coordinator and tutor.

cross-cultural competence, international placement, midwifery education, UBC Global Midwifery Project

The article has been peer-reviewed.


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