Core principles to reduce current variations that exist in grading of midwifery practice in the United Kingdom.
Aim To reduce variations in grading of midwifery practice and enhance reliability of assessment. Background The first phase of a national project showed there to be widely ranging interpretation and application of professional educational standards in relation to grading of practice in midwifery. This raised concerns about reliability and equity of professional assessment. The second phase therefore sought to achieve consensus on a set of core principles. Methods A participatory action research process in two stages, using a Mini-Delphi approach. Educational leads from all 55 institutions delivering midwifery programmes nationally were invited to participate. Stage one: Questionnaire comprising 12 statements drawn from the findings of the initial phase of the project. Stage two: Face-to-face discussion. Findings Statements were categorised based on questionnaire responses: 1) Consensus, 2) Staged consensus, 2) Minor modifications, 4) Controversial. Consensus was achieved on 11 core principles through group discussion; only one was omitted from the final set. Recommendations All midwifery programmes nationally to incorporate the agreed core principles. Findings should be disseminated to the regulatory body to help inform changes to midwifery and nursing educational standards. The core principles may also contribute to curriculum development in midwifery and other professions internationally.
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