Evaluation of strategies designed to enhance student engagement and success of indigenous midwifery students in an Away-From-Base Bachelor of Midwifery Program in Australia: A qualitative research study

Journal article


Paula Schulz, Carmel Lynne Dunne, Denise Burdett-Jones, Natalie Gamble, Machellee Kosiak, Joclyn Neal and Gail Baker. (2018) Evaluation of strategies designed to enhance student engagement and success of indigenous midwifery students in an Away-From-Base Bachelor of Midwifery Program in Australia: A qualitative research study. Nurse Education Today. 63, pp. 59-63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2018.01.026
AuthorsPaula Schulz, Carmel Lynne Dunne, Denise Burdett-Jones, Natalie Gamble, Machellee Kosiak, Joclyn Neal and Gail Baker
Abstract

Background
A strategy to close the gap in relation to Indigenous health is the employment of more Indigenous health professionals. However, despite government reviews, research studies and educational initiatives, Indigenous students' retention and completion rates of tertiary education remains below those of non-Indigenous Australians.

Objective
To evaluate two enhancements to an Away-from-Base Bachelor of Midwifery program for Indigenous students, namely the appointment of an Indigenous Academic Liaison Midwife to provide academic and cultural support and an additional clinical placement in a high-volume tertiary hospital.

Method
In this qualitative study, 10 Indigenous students enrolled in the Away-from-Base Bachelor of Midwifery program participated in one of two focus groups. Focus group transcriptions were subjected to a manual thematic analysis, and key themes were identified and explored.

Findings
The role of the Indigenous Academic Liaison Midwife was highly valued as students had access to a resource who provided cultural and academic support, and who encouraged and advocated for them. Regular contact with the Indigenous Academic Liaison Midwife enabled students to stay connected with and focussed on their study. Students were overwhelmingly positive about the opportunity to undertake the additional clinical placement, as it exposed them to complex clinical cases they may not have seen in their home communities.

Conclusions
The introduction of an Indigenous Academic Liaison Midwife and an additional clinical placement in a high-volume tertiary hospital were perceived as valuable additions to the range of support mechanisms already in place for Indigenous Away-from-Base Bachelor of Midwifery students. These interventions have had a direct impact on retention, course progression and completion rates for Indigenous students. Students expressed enhanced clinical learning and knowledge retention as a result of the additional clinical placement, and the Indigenous Academic Liaison Midwife provided culturally sensitive support for students undertaking remote learning, and during on-campus intensive sessions.

Keywordsmidwifery; indigenous students; Aboriginal; higher education; academic success; support; clinical education
Year2018
JournalNurse Education Today
Journal citation63, pp. 59-63
PublisherChurchill Livingstone
ISSN0260-6917
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2018.01.026
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85041648707
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Publication process dates
Deposited11 May 2021
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