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Giving Birth to Midwives Newsletter                           October 2011


Midwifery educators are a wonderfully diverse group; they are from all walks of life and from all over the world, some are classroom instructors who teach through lecture, assignments and exams, some are clinical educators serving as preceptors to the developing midwifery student, and some do both! This issue of Giving Birth to Midwives is dedicated to the clinical preceptor. We want to take time to focus on the gifts of being a clinical educator as well as the challenges. This issue will offer some insight into how one midwifery school oversees their student's clinical training, some tools for evaluating the preceptor and one preceptor's experience with student midwives who pose some challenges.


Once again AME is proud to sponsor an educator's workshop at this year's CAM/MANA conference: "Preceptors are Educators" will be presented by Suzy Myers, LM, CPM, MPH, Brynne Potter, LM, CPM and Holliday Tyson, RM, SCM, MHS.  


Also keeping us busy these days is collaborating with National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM) for the upcoming Symposium 2012 "CPM's and Midwifery Educators: Contributing to a New Era in Maternity Care."


I hope you will find this issue valuable in your work and that it will inspire you to consider offering your voice, your experience and expertise to AME so that we can share it with others in the pursuit of strengthening midwifery educators through connection, collaboration and coordination. There is such a wealth of wisdom in our community and AME is delighted to be able to offer a place for this richness to reach more midwifery educators. Join us!



~Mary Yglesia

AME Board President

Reflections on Precepting the   

Underperforming Student

By Erin Curtiss, L.M.

As a midwifery educator and clinical preceptor I delight in supporting and guiding my students as they evolve into competent midwifery care providers. For me, precepting is a highly rewarding experience. However, when working with an underachieving student, overwhelming feelings of frustration often arise. Students who are persistent in their shortcomings require substantial oversight, repeated and time-consuming evaluations, and a much higher level of moral support than the competent student. In addition to the numerous logistical challenges that arise when working with these students, the emotional aspects that usually develop for both the midwife and the student cannot be ignored.



A Clinical Director's Week

By Stacey Walden, LM

Clinical Director of the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery

This week as Clinical Director...

On Monday I traveled from Gainesville to Tallahassee to perform a Preceptor Site Visit. This birthing center hosts a mother and daughter midwife team. The daughter attended our program at The Florida School of Traditional Midwifery ten years ago. The mother was my first Preceptor, when I was a student at our school, 16 years ago. It felt great to have them involved in training our students with their long standing history in midwifery.

I talked with the midwife on duty about two of our students who are training there. I gave her feedback on ways to handle problems such as students learning slowly, not putting on their smiley face around clients, and general lack of enthusiasm and ambition. I reviewed the Preceptor Training Manual with her, emphasizing how to gently guide the students as they are learning to become midwives. "Give enough positive feedback to balance the negative. Allow ample time to review each clinic day and births together to thoroughly debrief." And I reminded her to call me if she encounters any problems while precepting that she feels I could help with.


Clinical Department Update from the Midwives College of Utah
By Heather Whitley, Clinical Dean, Midwives College of Utah

I have been in the clinical dean position at the Midwives College of Utah (MCU) since September 2009. In two years, we have made several modifications in the clinical department.


In addition to enrolling students earlier into the clinical program, we have increased our frequency of reported student clinical numbers to every trimester. Students are asked to report their "Statement of Clinical Progress" to the clinical department each trimester along with trimester evaluations of themselves, their preceptors and their preceptors' evaluations of the student.


We are following the NARM list of foreign clinical site approval. We consider exceptions if students travel with MCU-approved preceptors and commit to follow the Midwives Model of Care at the foreign site.



Sample Practicum/ Preceptor Evaluation Tools


Preceptors are dedicated clinical educators and as such they are students in the art of teaching. Receiving constructive feedback on their skills is essential to their own professional development. Accredited schools are required to have a mechanism to get that information and provide the feedback to their preceptors. At Bastyr University Department of Midwifery students are required to complete quarterly evaluations of their preceptors. Preceptors are likewise asked to do self-evaluations. To view the forms used by Bastyr, please click on the links below:

Preceptor Self Evaluation (PDF)

Resources for Preceptors

Visit our Member's Only Resource Section for resources you can use including:

  • Book recommendations
  • HIPPA for Midwifery links
  • Preceptor Education Program links
  • Documents for preceptors/ students
If you have a resource you would like to share, please email info@associationofmidwiferyeducators.org.
Issue: 4 
Teaching doll
Reflections on Precepting the Underperforming Student
A Clinical Director's Week
Clinical Department Update from the Midwives College of Utah
Sample Practicum/ Preceptor Evaluation Tools
Resources for Preceptors


AME is always looking for talented individuals to join us. If you are interested
in volunteering for a project or learning more about being on the Board of Directors, contact
Mary Yglesia at myglesia@bastyr.edu.

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Kristin Effland! 


AME is delighted to announce a new member of our team. Kristin Effland, LM, CPM has joined us in the role of Administrative Coordinator. Kristin's experience as a midwife, a preceptor and Vice President of Midwives Association of Washington State make her an ideal candidate to support the mission and vision of AME.


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What Students Have to Say about Preceptorships



My preceptors "facilitated an amazing year of learning and growth for me. They seamlessly involved me in client care with increasing amounts of responsibility but never left me feeling unsupported. I just have GRATITUDE!"


My preceptors "really made me feel valued as a student, as though they were the wind beneath my wings.


"Preceptors are the backbone of all well run midwifery school programs. It is with the guidance and teaching of preceptors that student midwives learn to apply their newfound skills and knowledge. Preceptors help to balance book learning with years of experience.  Preceptors helped me to grow and celebrate my successes, appreciating my sense of wonder and joy at learning each new skill. Preceptors have helped to ground me in many areas and served to help me learn my weaknesses and strengths."


"Preceptorship is also an opportunity for mentoring. Much more than factual knowledge about birth passes on from preceptor to student. Life-long lessons are learned."


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Association of Midwifery Educators