'Living the rural experience-preparation for practice': the future proofing of sustainable rural midwifery practice through midwifery education.
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KENSINGTON, M., RANKIN, J., GILKISON, A., DAELLENBACH, R., CROWTHER, S., DEERY, R. and DAVIES, L. 2018. 'Living the rural experience-preparation for practice': the future proofing of sustainable rural midwifery practice through midwifery education. Nurse education in practice [online], 31, pages 143-150. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2018.06.001
Rural practice presents unique challenges and skill requirements for midwives. New Zealand and Scotland face similar challenges in sustaining a rural midwifery workforce. This paper draws from an international multi-centre study exploring rural midwifery to focus on the education needs of student midwives within pre-registration midwifery programmes in order to determine appropriate preparation for rural practice. The mixed-methods study was conducted with 222 midwives working in rural areas in New Zealand (n = 145) and Scotland (n = 77). Midwives’ views were gathered through an anonymous online survey and online discussion forums. Descriptive analysis was used for quantitative data and thematic analysis was conducted with qualitative data. ‘Future proofing rural midwifery practice’ using education was identified as the overarching central theme in ensuring the sustainability of rural midwives, with two associated principle themes emerging (i) ‘preparation for rural practice’ and (ii) ‘living the experience and seeing the reality’. The majority of participants agreed that pre-registration midwifery programmes should include a rural placement for students and rural-specific education with educational input from rural midwives. This study provides insight into how best to prepare midwives for rural practice within pre-registration midwifery education, in order to meet the needs of midwives and families in the rural context.