Objective: this study explored the views of three cohorts of final year midwifery students, regarding their confidence in giving advice to women on contraception and sexual health in the postnatal period. The project also investigated knowledge of contraception using a factual quiz, based on clinical scenarios regarding contraception and sexual health in the postpartum period.
Design: a mixed method design using qualitative data from focus groups, and mixed qualitative and quantitative data from a paper based questionnaire was used.
Setting: the project was carried out in one higher educational institution in England.
Findings: findings demonstrate that expressed confidence varies according to contraceptive method, with most confidence being reported when advising on the male condom. The findings of the factual quiz indicate that students applied theoretical knowledge poorly in a practically oriented context. These findings also indicated that most students limited advice to general advice.
Key conclusions: the paper concludes that midwifery students need more practically oriented education in contraception and sexual health, and that the role of mentors is very important in helping students feel confident when giving advice in this area.
Keywords: Confidence; Contraception; Education; Postnatal.
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