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J Nurs Manag. 2013 Nov;21(8):1061-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2012.01455.x. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

'Practising under your own Pin'- a description of the transition experiences of newly qualified midwives.

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  • 1Professor of Social Contexts of Health and Head of SchoolResearch Fellow - RetiredEmeritus Professor of Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Nursing Midwifery and Physiotherapy, Queen's Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.



Transition experiences of newly qualified midwives were examined in depth during the third phase of a UK evaluation study of midwifery education.


The fitness to practise and the retention of newly qualified nursing and midwifery graduates are pressing concerns for health care managers. The advantages of preceptorship are reported in the literature but the content and timing of schemes remain unclear.


A semi-structured diary was kept for up to 6 months by 35 newly qualified midwives in 18 work sites covering all countries in the UK. The preceptor and supervisor of midwives for each newly qualified midwife completed short questionnaires about their preceptee's performance, and a further sub-sample of newly qualified midwives and preceptors participated in a semi-structured interview. Data were analysed to elicit aspects of newly qualified midwives transition experiences.


Findings confirm that structured preceptorship schemes are not widely available. Newly qualified midwives primarily obtained transition support from members of the midwifery team.


Although perceived as competent, there is no demarcation point in becoming confident to practise as a registered practitioner. Implications for managers include the importance of a supportive culture within clinical teams for successful transition and the introduction of structured preceptorship schemes facilitated by appropriate rotation patterns.


confidence; diary data; newly qualified midwife; preceptorship; transition

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