Grading student midwives’ practice: a case study exploring relationships, identity and authority.

Chenery-Morris, Samantha (2017) Grading student midwives’ practice: a case study exploring relationships, identity and authority. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Grading students’ practice in the UK is a mandatory requirement of midwifery programmes regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. This thesis explores how grading affects midwifery students, mentors and lecturers’ relationships, identity and authority.
Individual and group interviews with fifty-one students, fifteen mentors and five lecturers, recruited from three local NHS Hospital Trusts and a university provided a diversity of views and experiences. This was complemented with documentary data from student practice grades, practice assessment documents and action plans from underperforming students.
The analytical framework for this case study draws on Basil Bernstein's pedagogic codes using the concepts of classification and framing. This enabled an exploration of what counted as valid practice knowledge, teaching and learning in clinical practice and the evaluation of learning. Differences between students, with respect to their orientation to midwifery knowledge, types of practice knowledge and relationships between the hospital and community mentors were identified. Despite these, students were consistently awarded high practice grades.
The environment seemed to affect the structural and interactional practices between students and mentors and, according to Bernstein’s theory, should have affected the practice grade. However, there was limited stratification of grades. Therefore, the grades have been interpreted as competence rather than performance of midwifery and symbolise acceptance into the profession. Reasons for this were offered.
This study provides a unique insight into grading students’ practice, resulting in recommendations such as the separation of the role of mentor from assessor as well as a call for greater assessment of communication skills and evidence to inform midwifery practice. New models of teaching and assessment in clinical practice may enable a change of pedagogic code. Understanding the complexity of the practice area and the types of discourses it produces is necessary to enable all students equal access to midwifery specific knowledge.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 08 May 2018 08:52
Last Modified: 08 May 2018 08:52


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