Midwife Students and Fellowships: OH, MY!

Midwife Students and Fellowships: OH, MY!

Midwifery clinical sites are getting harder and harder to find. As a new graduate, the biggest hurdle is getting experience in a supportive environment in your first few years of getting a midwifery degree. Is your midwifery practice a good fit for a student or new midwifery graduate? Do you have the resources to support the slower pace a newer member of the team will initially cause to the work load?

Midwifery students and new graduates are a great person to join the team if your practice is established and can financially support the additional resources needed to provide safe care. These fragile newbies need a direct preceptor that is happy to be asked questions frequently and provide skills that will make them a safe care provider to women and families in your practice.

Once the student or new midwife has been with the team a month or so, things will shift. Having two people taking a case load won’t see so overwhelming, new evidence that student learned about in class will help practice improve standards and policies within office, and women will love having different personalities taking care of her during the pregnancy. Student are FREE LABOR! Your new team member will be a great asset for the practice.

Make clear expectations of what your student or new graduate will look like. Are you only accepting students with a Labor and Delivery Nurse background? Is there only certain midwifery schools you will contract with? Did your practice create a detailed Fellowship program to help with midwifery salary overhead costs by hiring newer midwives? There are so many benefits to hiring “greener staff,” but the most important thing is having a well established practice that can handle the required additional resources for the newer staff.

Safety should never be scarified for sake of a budget. Have additional midwives on call with new graduate until competency in skills is documented. Give your student extra time with visits to learn a skill and ask questions after visit for better explanation of thought process. How is our profession going to grow without practices offering clinical sites or hiring new graduate midwives? All midwives have to start somewhere and if we show them what a strong, independent owned midwifery practice looks like, all the better for future of midwifery!