What do pregnant women think of student training?

Andrea Woolner, Margaret Cruickshank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Clinical experience is fundamental for medical and midwifery student education. Patient willingness for student participation is perceived as low in obstetrics and gynaecology. We explored the views of pregnant women on medical and midwifery student training.

METHODS: Pregnant women were invited to participate in a cross-sectional survey at antenatal out-patient clinics at a maternity hospital serving a regional population during June and July 2012.

RESULTS: Only 53 per cent (110/206) of women reported that they would allow a medical student to assist with the delivery of their baby, and 61 per cent (127/206) would allow a midwifery student to assist; however, 84 per cent (174/206) of women were willing to undergo an obstetric abdominal examination by a medical student, and similarly 87 per cent (180/206) agreed to an examination by a midwifery student. Primigravid women were significantly less likely to agree to student assistance at delivery compared with parous women for medical (p < 0.01) and midwifery students (p = 0.02). Women appear generally more willing to accept midwifery students compared with medical students (p < 0.01). Women who would decline student participation expressed concerns over lack of student supervision, desire for privacy, student training level, need for 'experienced' staff and concerns regarding first or previous complicated pregnancies. Patient willingness for student participation is perceived as low in obstetrics and gynaecology DISCUSSION: Negative attitudes remain towards students in the labour ward. Women have concerns over student supervision and competence. Research is needed to address women's reluctance to student participation during labour and delivery to determine if particular fears exist related to birth. The development of innovative educational tools could address specific modifiable concerns that pregnant women have with student training in the labour ward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-330
Number of pages6
JournalThe Clinical Teacher
Issue number5
Early online date25 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Aberdeen Maternity Hospital clinic reception and antenatal staff. Thank you to Jamie Schneider, Jayne Forrest and Sophie Greenfield.


  • Pregnant women
  • Student training
  • Patient willingness


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