Promoting normality from ‘conception’: a role modelling intervention for new start midwifery students

Clare Hughes, Shirley Stronge

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Promoting and supporting normality is to the fore of the midwife’s role and core to the ethos of midwifery curriculum planning in education (NMC, 2009). Nurturing and instilling confidence in midwifery students in relation to embracing normality relies on a supportive teaching framework within the University and positive role modelling within the clinical practice area. Role modelling can be a powerful tool for developing core values, skills and professional judgement (Armstrong, 2008). Passi and Johnston (2015) identify three key outcomes from positive role modelling as the development of professional behaviours; the shaping of a professional identity and aspirational desires about career future.
With the desire to seek innovative approaches to promoting normality within the midwifery curriculum, midwifery lecturers in Queen’s University Belfast invited clinical midwifery experts from across Northern Ireland to participate in a panel discussion forum with new start midwifery students who had only thus far had baseline theoretical teaching on normal pregnancy and birth prior to stepping into clinical practice for the first time. The panel of expert midwives included experienced caseload midwives; senior midwives within midwifery led stand alone and alongside units; senior representatives from the Royal College of Midwives and a Consultant Midwife.
The aim of the discussion forum was to stimulate professional conversations and instil an ethos of normality amongst the new students. Students were asked to develop one question each relating to an element of normal midwifery practice which they could put to the panel for discussion. This encouraged the students to start thinking independently about what normality in midwifery practice means to them. The informal question and answer session generated stimulating conversation and debate. Informal evaluations from both the midwifery students and those involved in the panel reflected an extremely positive experience which instilled optimistic values for the new midwifery students to commence clinical practice.
Felstead (2013) suggests that role modelling is a fundamental component of education and has the power to influence components of skill, professional behaviour and competence. This innovative intervention offers midwifery students the opportunity to contemplate normality from ‘conception’ in a vivid and vibrant professional format. [347 words]
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 02 Oct 2017
EventNormal Labour and Birth Conference - Grange over Sands, Cumbria, United Kingdom
Duration: 02 Oct 201704 Oct 2017


ConferenceNormal Labour and Birth Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • normality
  • education
  • midwifery


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