Educational relationships : a study in midwifery
At its inception in 1902, formal midwifery training developed within hospital midwifery services. With the development of a theoretical base, training became education during the 1980s. During a period of economic and societal changes in the 1990s, midwifery education was incorporated into higher education, separating education from health service practice. There were consequences for midwifery education especially the structure of pedagogical relationships. This thesis looks at key sets of relationships in midwifery education between the three main groups of actors: academics, clinicians and students. In so doing, the inquiry utilises a grounded theory approach and embraces disciplines of education, social sciences, social psychology, management and philosophy. The study confirms the importance of relationships between the key actors as part of a student's learning experiences. However, these relationships have become more problematic as a result of the organisational separation between the academic and professional components. A framework is proposed to describe educational relationships in midwifery. The framework has six dimensions; (i) a core component of personal traits, (ii) a secondary component of social and communication abilities and four subsidiary components of (iii) professional expertise, (iv) personal knowledge, (v) education knowledge and skills and (vi) a vision for practice. Realisation of the components by one person of another within the three groups aids mutuality in understanding. General principles are offered that include notions of encounter, exchange, rules, boundaries, reciprocity and reinforcement that aid in constructions of relationships. Though these conditions, in themselves, aid the formation of learning relationships, two processes occur in these relationships through encounters, that is, complementation (a unity of meanings between actors) and complementarity (a matching of understandings). These require a forum for encounters. A model of education is proposed that offers just such a forum aiding positive encounters to promote learning between the three groups of actors. Features of this model are the development of teachers within clinical practice, accreditation of practitioners as educators and the education of students primarily in clinical situations with interactive learning.