Evaluating the student experience of introducing newborn infant physical theory into a pre-registration midwifery programme in the UK
Start date: 29 November 2019
Background: Newborn infant physical examination (NIPE) is a screening process that usually takes place between six to 72 hours (Davis & Elliman 2003) from birth, a period of time when all well, newborn infants in the UK are under the care of the midwife. The midwife is in an ideal position to undertake this examination but only 13% of midwives are NIPE practitioners (Rogers et al 2015). Also, only a few universities provide opportunities for NIPE to be taught in an undergraduate programme as it is not a requirement of the regulatory body (NMC 2009). For those that do, there is the challenge of not having enough NIPE practitioners to assess students in practice.
Aim: explore the experiences of students regarding the impact and effectiveness of introducing the theoretical elements of NIPE into their programme and its application in practice when opportunities arose.
Ethics: approval granted from the host university Methods: All third year student midwives were invited to participate in focus group discussions, which were audio taped and transcribed verbatim. An interview proforma guided the discussion under three main areas: additional theoretical content in the curriculum; practice related experience and what next. Descriptive analysis was used to identify common themes.
Results: Ten students attended the focus groups. Three themes emerged: i) timing of theoretical content; ii) applying theory to practice and, iii) holistic care.
Conclusion: students felt they benefited from learning about NIPE and recognised it offered continuity of care. For some, even though they may not have seen NIPE being undertaken in practice, this was not a barrier for them to utilise the knowledge and apply it in a slightly different way in practice.