One of our early items posted in celebration of the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife showcased several of our past and present midwives who have been part of the university. Dr Jane Fry and Dr Stella Rawnson shone a light on the journey of caseload holding at Bournemouth. We wanted to share in more detail about Stella’s doctoral work, ‘Stories of Companionship and Trust: Women’s narratives of their student midwife caseloading experience’. We have also posted a reflection from student midwife Sarah Roberts about her caseload holding experience.
Before students begin to caseload, they are required to write a personal philosophy of care, which is assessed. Seven students have shared their personal philosophies with you, which you can read here.
Dr Stella Rawnson
As a mother, midwife and educator, I am passionate about woman-centred care and an advocate for caseloading in practice and education. Following inclusion of the continuity of carer component within the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Standards for pre-registration midwifery education in 2009, there appeared a notable lack of information about this approach to education where students gain experience of providing continuity of care for women throughout the childbearing continuum via caseload practice (NMC 2009; 2019). Because I care about student midwife caseloading and the quality of women’s continuity experiences via this learning strategy, I sought to enhance the quality of student preparation and support for the experience via a collaborative action research project (Rawnson et al. 2009). My Master’s research explored student midwives’ perceptions of continuity and how they perceived this impacted on their learning journey to becoming midwives (Rawnson 2011) This research provided enhanced insights to inform and develop continuity within professional education.
I had completed the caseloading module and passed my essay and now it was time to start my journey as a caseloading student! I had a tripartite meeting with my community mentor and academic advisor to ensure that I fully understood caseloading requirements, and to address any questions or potential problems that I may come across.
My mentor approached three women that we thought would be ideally suited for being caseloaded. She explained what caseloading consisted of to each woman and gave them my leaflet. They were given the opportunity to think about it, but all agreed there and then. I chose three very different pregnant women to caseload to enrich my learning: 1) a multigravida woman with safeguarding issues, 2) a woman with a high-risk pregnancy booked for an elective caesarean section, and 3) a low risk primigravida woman. I had a pay as you go phone that the women could contact me on with any questions/concerns. The women and I established boundaries regarding contact during 9-5pm Monday to Friday (unless on call near due date). If I was unable to respond to their calls during this period (lectures/exams) the women were advised to contact the Day Assessment Unit (DAU) of their local NHS Trust Hospital.