Practical coaching by mentors: student midwives' perceptions

Finnerty, Gina and Collington, Val (2013) Practical coaching by mentors: student midwives' perceptions. Nurse Education in Practice, 13(6), pp. 573-577. ISSN (print) 1873-5223


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this paper was to explore some of the specific strategies used by midwife mentors to mediate practice learning from the perspective of a sample of student midwives. DESIGN: Audio-diaries were completed by student midwives over ten days in practice and were transcribed using discourse analysis. A sub-sample from 19 students' learning diaries from a national midwifery education study conducted by Pope et al. (2003) has been selected as the diaries informed a separate study. PARTICIPANTS: The sample of student midwives were studying on degree and diploma programmes at five case study sites in England. MAIN FINDINGS: Students described how their mentors apparently successfully tailored their teaching to the students' needs. However, there was perceived disparity in techniques used by individual mentors to pass on their practice know-how. The findings demonstrate the pivotal role of the mentor for 'scaffolding' learning and also using 'fading' techniques within a cognitive apprenticeship model. KEY CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Mentors need assistance to adapt their mentoring styles and to use a wider range of instruction strategies for student midwives. This has practical implications for mentor preparation programmes and mentorship models.

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