Supporting and assessing student midwives: your role

As a mentor, it is important to ensure that student midwives:

  • are supernumerary
  • are on the duty rota for Health and Safety reasons
  • are actively engaged in hands on delivery of care as appropriate
  • have a named sign-off mentor with whom they work for a minimum of 40% of the time
  • participate in the 24-hour cycle of care.

Please note, all midwifery mentors must be sign-off mentors.

At the same time, we do acknowledge that students have responsibilities. These are clearly stated in their portfolio of learning.

Your role in student assessment

The assessment process must contain the following stages:

  • preliminary practice review
  • formulation of learning contracts
  • interim review
  • individual skills and midwifery outcomes
  • formative and summative observed practice assessments
  • final review which includes the fine grading assessment
  • eliciting service user views
  • Views of Service Users
  • Student Pledge

Supporting the failing student

Occasionally, students do not meet the required standard and it is necessary to fail them. In this event, it is important that students know why they have not met the pass criteria and that they have been given an opportunity to improve at the formative stage.

It is therefore essential to:

  • Have robust and transparent processes in place
  • Investigate why your student may be having difficulties
  • Compile comprehensive documentation as evidence
  • Use support networks (See Supporting Mentors and Students in Practice.)
  • Pick up problems early
  • Use Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely, (SMART) objectives
  • Set clear review dates
  • Contact the midwifery link lecturer for the area
  • Make clear action plans

See below documents for examples of completed action plans:

Where there are concerns about a student, it is important to fill in a 'Cause for Concern' form which you will find in the student's portfolio of learning.

This form must not be removed from the document. For an example of this and the process to follow please see the Flow Chart document below.

It is important that you have discussed your concerns with the student and supported his/her development with an action plan before completing the cause for concern form. Exceptions to this are when there is a serious untoward incident when the HEI must be informed immediately and a cause for concern form completed. Constructive feedback is essential for student development. Do not wait for formative or summative stages to inform a student of your concerns.