Building student midwives’ confidence to care for grieving parents: impact of participation in an education/training workshop in bereavement care

Building student midwives’ confidence to care for grieving parents: impact of participation in an education/training workshop in bereavement care

Barbara Coughlan (1) Jean Doherty (2), Brenda Casey (2), Anne McMahon (1), Mary Brosnan (2), Lucille Sheehy (2), Barbara Lloyd (1), Theresa Barry (2), Sarah Cullen (2)

(1) UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, (2) National Maternity Hospital

Supporting the growth of student Midwives’ confidence (bereavement support skills and knowledge) to provide bereavement care to parents following pregnancy loss and perinatal death.
Background: A bespoke interactive one-day Educational Training Workshop in Bereavement Care (ETWBC) was developed for student midwives [final year of BSc Midwifery Degree and Higher Diploma Midwifery (shortened programme for RNs) (N=41)] to help improve their confidence in clinical practice. The Workshop contained the following, Practical advice for students about communication – good and bad; Making memories with families; parents’ perspectives on the impact of bereavement; Interactive role-play; Poetry; Self-care, including reflection and a mindfulness hour.

A longitudinal sequential mixed methods design completed in two phases Outcome and Process was used to evaluate the ETWBC, the Outcome Evaluation is presented here. Primary Outcome: Confidence and Secondary Outcomes: Self-awareness, Organisational support, Self-Compassion were all measured at all 3 time points [pre ETWBC, post ETWBC and at 3-months follow-up] using the Perinatal Bereavement Care Confidence Scale [PBCCS] (Kalu et al., 2019) and the Self-Compassion Scale-Short Form [SCS–Sf] (Raes et al. 2011).

Participation in the ETWBC increased student’s midwives’ bereavement support skills [F (2,72) =21.150, p<.000, partial eta squared= 0.370] and knowledge [F (1.6,60) =48.460, p<.000, partial eta squared= 0.567] to provide bereavement care. Improvement in students’ self-awareness [F (1.7, 61) =30.387, p<.000, partial eta squared 0.458] was also found. There was no significant increase in the students’ perceptions of organisational support or level of self-compassion.

Participation in the ETWBC had a positive impact on building student midwives’ confidence and self-awareness. This workshop has been integrated into the Midwifery Curriculum and further development of the role play as a learning tool is ongoing.

Ethics statement:
Due to the sensitive nature of the subject being discussed, there was a potential to cause distress to students during the workshop or in focus group interviews. Participation in the study was completely voluntary and the students were given the option to opt out at any time. Members of the bereavement team and clinical placement co-ordinators were present at the workshop and focus group to monitor students for signs of distress and provide support and or debriefing if required.
Ethics statement: Ethical Approval was granted by the Research Ethics Committee in the National Maternity Hospital Dublin and an Ethical Exemption was granted by the UCD Research Ethics Committee for the project.

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