Joint Chiropractic & Midwifery Newborn Clinic: an innovative approach to enhance student learning about complex feeding problems

Authors: Taylor, A., Way, S. and Miller, J.

Conference: Innovation in Midwifery Education ... What Works?

Dates: 3 July 2015


Rationale: A newborn infant breastfeeding clinic in the South of England offers an interprofessional learning environment facilitating midwifery and chiropractic students to engage with and learn from women experiencing breastfeeding problems. Exclusive breastfeeding provides optimum nutrition for infants (WHO 2001). However, some mothers experience difficulties due to poor positioning and attachment associated with birth related difficulties (Smith 2009), which is further complicated by inadequate postnatal feeding support (Hinsliff-Smith et al. 2014).

Aims: Learning from skilled, qualified practitioners in a real-time practice environment has the ability to enrich the student educational experience. The unique environment provides a valuable student opportunity by facilitating active participation in problem solving with experienced practitioners. This is achieved through real life scenarios, which have the ability to enrich the student educational experience. Interprofessional education is enhanced by working with different professional groups that the students would not normally encounter, enabling a mutual understanding and respect of each other’s role, knowledge and skills, which can be used collaboratively to enhance breastfeeding outcomes particularly with complex breastfeeding problems.

Design: The pilot clinic was set up to explore the feasibility of such an approach to student learning and support for women. Ethical approval was gained through university research ethics committee. The students’ experience of the learning environment was evaluated using focus groups.

Results: Themes identified were: Interprofessional collaborative practice; learning experiences in the clinic and service evaluation.

Conclusion: This innovative approach has the opportunity to improve sustained breastfeeding rates as well as providing a positive interprofessional learning environment for students.

References: Hinsliff-Smith, K., Spencer, R. and Walsh, D., 2014. Realities, difficulties, and outcomes for mothers choosing to breastfeed: Primigravid mothers experiences in the early postpartum period (6–8 weeks). Midwifery, 30 (1), e14-e19.

Smith, L. 2009. Impact of Birth Practices on Breastfeeding. London: Jones and Bartlett.

World Health Organization, 2001. The Optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding: report of the expert consultation. Geneva: WHO.

Source: Manual