At the point of registration, the NMC states student midwives should be able to ‘practise safely and effectively without the need for direct supervision’ (NMC, 2010:23). That said, newly qualified midwives should have a preceptorship period where knowledge and skills are consolidated whilst confidence in practice is developed. This period is not designed to meet shortfalls in pre-registration education; rather it is to support registrants during the transition from student to autonomous and accountable practitioner (Department of Health (DH), 2010a), in other words, the journey from novice to expert (Benner, 2001). This article will describe preceptorship within the context of midwifery practice and go on to summarise the roles and responsibilities of the ‘new registrant’, preceptor and employer. It will also discuss a case study preceptorship programme, with narratives from current preceptees and Practice Development Midwife Kate Ewing.
- newly qualified