A pilot program launched at Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District is giving student midwives support, confidence, and education in the midwifery field by pairing them with a dedicated mentor.
The program, Mentoring in Midwifery, aims to develop a reciprocal learning relationship between a midwife and midwifery students to allow them to grow and feel supported, while also staying in the profession long-term.
Since launching in March 2022, the pilot program has recruited 30 mentors and matched them with 20 student midwives. Students spend one year with their experienced and compassionate mentor who helps them with opportunities for connection, learning, growth and support.
Mentoring in Midwifery facilitator, Cindy Partridge, has enjoyed watching the mentor relationships develop and knows the importance of students having a safe person to go to for questions.
“We support midwives to develop skills and confidence in mentoring, so they can make a positive difference to students and graduates in their new roles,” says Cindy.
“By using appreciative enquiry and caring conversation approach there has been a real richness in connecting, debriefing, learning and process for feedback”.
“This is deeper than a “how are you going”. We use visuals, feelings and storytelling in a strengths-based approach to ensure our midwifery students are supported and always learning,” says Cindy.
The success of the program has seen the recruitment of even more mentors, with seven more being trained late last year.
“It is part of our commitment to providing excellent patient experiences by enhancing opportunities for our workforce to feel safe and supported in an area that’s in demand,” says Kim Maddock, Acting Director, Nursing and Midwifery.
“The hope is that the program continues into the future, so we can provide this experience to all new midwives moving forward,” says Kim.
The Mentoring in Midwifery project is a joint project with the NSW Health Nursing and Midwifery Office. Three other local health districts are participating.