Phrasing questions correctly and building rapport: A multi-disciplinary approach to pre-clinical midwifery placement training

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Background:Preparing first year students for communication in clinical health settings can be challenging particularly given they may never have considered how and why they communicate. The need for the student to use and translate discipline-related language for a range of audiences is essential, however, opportunities to facilitate the development of effective clinical communication may be limited particularly in the academic context. Methods: This paper reports on the findings of a small, intervention study in which First Year Bachelor of Midwifery students participated in innovative, preparatory workshops for an objective-subjective clinical assessment (OSCA) and their first clinical placement. The aim was to empower students to draw on their experience of communication to inform and expand their perceptions of communication in healthcare. The innovation of the project was its pedagogy, drawing on two distinct disciplines - midwifery and linguistics. Using a mixed-methods approach, data from quantitative and qualitative surveys, and linguistic language mapping and theme analysis were collected and compared pre- and post-workshop, and post-clinical placement. Findings: Students developed and used metalanguage appropriately to describe and evaluate communication during the workshop. Subsequently, students placed a higher value on communication, noting they were more alert to the interpersonal aspects of health care. They demonstrated increased empathy and awareness of the effect of communication on care provision. Students recognised which skills they had and also those they needed to develop. Perceptible shifts in self-evaluation of communication competence were noted post the workshop and clinical placement. Conclusion: A multidisciplinary pedagogic approach has the potential to improve midwifery students’ awareness and practice of clinical communication. By demystifying communication, through the identification of specific skills and strategies, and placing communication at the centre of clinical competence, students were able to test, reflect, and focus on communication elements in preparation for their OSCA and clinical placement experience
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S6
Number of pages1
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Midwifery students
  • Communication
  • Linguistics
  • Interpersonal aspects


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