Is mentoring effective for midwifery students in the clinical area? Midwives perceptions at a provincial hospital in Zimbabwe
Midwifery is a competency based profession in which midwifery students acquire most of their guided learning in the clinical area, hence the need to ensure optimal mentoring which would promote the acquisition of the ideal clinical skills. Failure to support and prepare midwifery students may affect their ability to deliver the required level of midwifery care. This study purposed at exploring the midwives’ perceptions regarding mentoring of midwifery students in the clinical area at Marondera midwifery training institution. A qualitative phenomenological design based on the principles of naturalistic inquiry underpinned this study. The study sample was composed of six recently qualified midwives and ten senior midwives who met the inclusion criteria. Purposive sampling was used to select the sample until saturation was reached. Data were generated using tape-recorded unstructured individual interviews. Colaizzi’s thematic analysis was used to synthesize the findings, and data were presented using the emergent themes. The results generally revealed that mentorship was perceived as an important supportive, teaching and learning strategy. Four themes emerged from the interview data, namely; gross inconsistencies in the mentoring of midwifery students, lack of standardized procedures, poor communication between the school of midwifery and the clinical area and lack of ideal infrastructure which hinder effective mentoring of midwifery students.