Making discoveries through research: midwifery students’ perceptions of their role when caring for pregnant women who misuse substances: neonatal simulators as creative pedagogy
Background: An aspect of the midwifery curriculum incorporates teaching and learning to facilitate midwifery students’ understanding in caring for pregnant women who may be misusing substances. This is important to lessen stigma associated with these women. There is minimal research involving undergraduate midwifery students interacting with neonatal simulators as creative pedagogy. Objectives: To involve midwifery students within a research study using Foetal Alcohol and Drug Affected neonate simulators for co-constructing knowledge around the effects of substance misuse during pregnancy and postnatally. Design: A qualitative approach to data collection was undertaken.
Study setting and participants: Level 4 student midwives (n=50) from a UK University in the South West of England participated. Methods: A taught session on protecting the unborn environment was provided as per the curriculum. Student views were sought on their perceptions of interacting with the neonatal simulators and their role as future midwives in dealing with and supporting pregnant women about the impact of teratogens on the foetus and the newborn baby.
Results: Three broad themes were highlighted: Kinaesthetic Learning, In Their Shoes and Midwifery Role in Educating Others. Conclusions: Undergraduate research should be encountered early in the student learning journey. Students as ‘researchers’ in this study emphasized the importance of interacting with the simulators as creative pedagogy as a means of enhancing their knowledge. Students were able to build ‘new knowledge’ by suggesting that the simulators could be used in practice as an educational aid during parenting classes. This research has helped bridge the disconnect between teaching, research and practice as students were able to reflect on their future roles as midwives as they described an increased confidence in their ability to provide information and support for pregnant women and their babies who may have been impacted by substance misuse.