The Precepting Dilemma: A Reflexive Thematic Analysis Study of Midwifery Preceptors in Undergraduate Education in Canada

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Deepali Upadhyaya
Rebecca Haines-Saah
Tracey Clancy
Tanya Beran
Elizabeth Oddone Paolucc



Objective: To generate themes on facilitators and barriers for midwifery preceptorship.
Methods: Midwifery preceptors in undergraduate education in Canada were invited to participate in

one of three focus groups. A constructivist paradigm and reflexive thematic analysis approach was used for responses that were transcribed verbatim.

Results: In September and October 2020, three focus groups took place comprising a total of 16 midwifery preceptors. Participants represented multiple Canadian jurisdictions and had a range of education, midwifery, and precepting experiences. Two primary themes, “the altruism of precepting” and “the lack of autonomy in precepting,” were generated from our analysis of participants’ responses. Preceptors also provided suggestions to better enable their role.

Discussion/Conclusion: We interpreted a “precepting dilemma” in midwifery clinical teaching such that there are altruistic influences on the role and also an underlying lack of autonomy. Obligations and nurturing elements contributed to midwifery preceptors’ utilitarianism. Exacerbating a lack of sovereignty in precepting were deficits in collaboration and aspects that further marginalized the role. It is imperative for stakeholders of midwifery in Canada to carefully consider how altruism and autonomy of precepting affect the experiential curricula.

This article has been peer reviewed.

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