Courage, commitment and resilience: traits of student midwives who fail and retake modules

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


In the context of staff retention in maternity services in the United Kingdom (UK) the concept of resilience has a very high profile, as explored in Hunter and Warren’s study funded by the Royal College of Midwives in 2013. The ever more complex demands of contemporary midwifery practice in the UK lead some midwives to make the very difficult decision to leave the profession, with the top five reasons being dissatisfaction with staffing levels; dissatisfaction with the quality of care they were able to give; excessive workloads; lack of managerial support and poor working conditions (Royal College of Midwives, 2016). It is estimated that approximately 20% of students who commence the pre-registration midwifery programme will not qualify to become a midwife (Centre for Workforce Intelligence, 2012); reasons for non-completion of studies include wrong career choice, financial difficulties and family circumstances (Galloway, 2015). Academic failure is not cited as a key reason for leaving the course. This article will share the stories of three students who failed and then retook a theory module during their pre-registration midwifery programmes of study. The students show courage in their willingness to publicly discuss their experiences; commitment to their chosen profession by retaking the module and resilience by persevering despite the additional emotional and financial demands of their situation. A fourth student provides ‘Top Tips’ for others who might find themselves in the same situation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Issue number3
Early online date2 Mar 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Mar 2017


  • Resilience
  • pre-registration midwifery education
  • courage
  • commitment


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