What do early career midwives think of the preceptoship programme in Scotland?
We've recently launched a publication for our First Five years forum (FFYF) in Scotland. FFYF is a network of around 23 early career midwives from all over Scotland who we've supported over the last two years to meet regularly to build links with each other and develop projects around shared interests.
From the first meeting, the group members knew that they wanted to focus their efforts on developing the support offered to newly qualified midwives across Scotland. The experiences of support and preceptorship of group members had been very variable during their first year after qualifying. Many of them had felt overwhelmed and under supported and more than half had considered leaving the profession. The document published today, Developing a preceptorship programme for newly qualified midwives in Scotland, represents the results of this group’s work over the last 18 months.
The project described in the publication included a literature review about the impact and content of positive preceptorship programmes globally, interviews with leaders from around the UK who had developed well respected preceptorship programmes, a survey with early career midwives in Scotland about their experiences of support in their first year and interviews with Heads of Midwifery across Scotland. This project has led to FFYF to make five key recommendations for improvement. The group recommend the provision of:
- Individualised career progression options
- Clarity about expectations of skills development
- Protected learning and supernumerary time
- Named preceptor and defined support network
- Development of a national programme to provide a consistent national approach to skills development and support in the newly qualified period
The publication will now be used to support and inform the work of a new national working group, meeting for the first time today, facilitated by NHS Education for Scotland and supported by the Scottish Government, which will focus on developing the best possible consistent support for newly qualified midwives in Scotland. Members of FFYF have been invited to contribute to the work of this group, which offers them a fantastic development opportunity to experience work at a national level and influence national policy.