A case study of online infant feeding Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs)

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther contribution to conferencepeer-review



Providing quality learning experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic is a challenge requiring modifications to education provision across the globe. Within midwifery education meeting the educational needs of students has required innovation. In addition, online breastfeeding support by midwives has also increased and therefore the skills that midwifery students require must be incorporated into educational design and assessment. A novel approach was developed which addressed both the educational design and student assessment challenge.

Aim of innovation: To introduce online infant feeding OSCEs to formatively assess final year midwifery students’ infant feeding skills.

Description of innovation

Co-designed scenarios were issued to the participating undergraduate midwifery students a week in advance of the OSCE. Crucially, students were expected to set up the virtual meeting with their assessor - a service user, midwifery lecturer or infant feeding lead – who simulated the role of a woman requiring support with infant feeding. Students were expected to offer appropriate care and support online which was assessed against co-designed assessment criteria. Digitalised forms enabled assessors to provide feedback to students in real-time. Ethical approval was not required.

Impact of innovation

The assessment indicated that students have an excellent level of knowledge and skill and were able to apply this in an online environment. This was impressive considering some of the students had not been involved at a clinical level with virtual conversations with women. The assessors reported that the virtual OSCE program was easy to use.

Conclusion and implications

The virtual OSCEs enabled students to apply their knowledge and skills in an online environment. This has implications for midwifery education and practice as we seek effective ways to use digital technology to meet the educational needs of students in contemporary society.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2021
EventTrinity Health and Education International Research Conference. - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 09 Mar 202111 Mar 2021


ConferenceTrinity Health and Education International Research Conference.


  • breastfeeding
  • Midwifery education
  • OSCEs
  • online assessment


Dive into the research topics of 'A case study of online infant feeding Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this