Student midwives' perception of peer learning during their clinical practice in an obstetric unit: A qualitative study

Nurse Educ Today. 2021 Apr;99:104785. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2021.104785. Epub 2021 Jan 22.


Background: Evidence supports peer learning in clinical settings, but it has not been studied in obstetric units. In Sweden, obstetric units are a challenging learning area for student midwives because of the lack of attention to student needs and the stress of attaining the final number of 50 assisted births.

Objectives: To explore how student midwives experienced peer learning during clinical placement in an obstetric unit.

Design: Qualitative approach.

Settings: Three hospitals and obstetric units in Stockholm, Sweden.

Participants: Fifteen student midwives in a peer-learning model during clinical placement.

Methods: Individual interviews followed by deductive content analysis using Boud's (2001) theoretical descriptions of peer learning.

Results: The students shared skills, experience, and knowledge as equals and took responsibility for their peers' learning while supporting women in labor and childbirth. Students shared ideas, thoughts, and knowledge and gained perspective while learning as peers on an equal level. Students used each other to work independently without much involvement from the preceptor. Feedback was welcomed as encouragement.

Conclusions: Peer learning had positive consequences as an educational model in the clinical context in obstetric units.

Keywords: Obstetric units; Peer learning; Preceptorship; Student midwives.