A scoping study to explore the application and impact of grading practice in pre-registration midwifery programmes across the United Kingdom
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Grading of practice is a mandatory element of programmes leading to registration as a midwife in the United Kingdom, required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. This validates the importance of practice by placing it on an equal level with academic work, contributing to degree classification. This paper discusses a scoping project undertaken by the Lead Midwives for Education group across the 55 Higher Education Institutions in the United Kingdom which deliver pre-registration midwifery programmes. A questionnaire was circulated and practice tools shared, enabling exploration of the application of the standards and collation of the views of the Lead Midwives. Timing and individuals involved in practice assessment varied as did the components and the credit weighting applied to practice modules. Sign-off mentor confidence in awarding a range of grades had increased over time, and mentors seemed positive about the value given to practice and their role as professional gatekeepers. Grading was generally felt to be more robust and meaningful than pass/refer. It also appeared that practice grading may contribute to an enhanced student academic profile. A set of guiding principles is being developed with the purpose of enhancing consistency of the application of the professional standards across the United Kingdom.
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