BACKGROUND: midwifery relationships, especially ones developed over time, are viewed and valued as practical and political health interventions that increase the likelihood of good health for women and infants and assist with health challenges. Thus the continuity relationships with women required for each Bachelor of Midwifery student are used, not only to expand students' learning but also, in a fragmented maternity care system, to provide opportunities for women to experience the care of a known person through their pregnancy, labour and early parenting time. AIM OF THE STUDY: we sought understandings of women's experiences of their continuity relationships with midwifery students. METHOD: a survey was posted to all women (n=1008) who had agreed to continuity in the first years of our undergraduate program 2009-2011. We analysed 354 completed surveys (34% response rate). SPSS was used for quantitative data and content analysis identified themes expressed in the qualitative responses from a selected sub-set of 27 participants. Ethical approval was obtained from the authors' institution and research funding from the local registration board. FINDINGS: women's satisfaction of being with a student in a continuity relationship was high. On a scale from one (not at all satisfied) to 10 (extremely satisfied), the mean score was 8.88. The women, more than half of whom received standard maternity care, stated they valued the opportunity for a constant presence across their childbearing experience and will recommend student continuity to their friends. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: this study shows that our curriculum emphasis on continuity is valued by women. Pairing a woman and a student gives women a relationship with a named person in the maternity health field that provides valued extras: care, time, patience, effort, information, advocacy, support and kindness. It raises the profile of midwifery in the community, especially the profile of continuity of midwifery care for women in standard models of care. It increases communication for and with women in a variety of useful and desirable ways and it allows an opportunity for women to contribute to students' learning. It also provides the university sector a chance to value and privilege the continuity of midwifery relationship.
J., B., & J., T. (2014). “It’s a good thing…”: Women’s views on their continuity experiences with midwifery students from one Australian region. Midwifery, 30(3), e108–e114. Retrieved from http://www.embase.com/search/results?subaction=viewrecord&from=export&id=L607468105 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2013.11.006