Author: Rachel Williams
Student midwives are given the opportunity to complete their practical module through the medium of Welsh. The provision of antenatal education classes forms part of this module and, thus, is outlined in the midwifery framework as one of the skills necessary to achieve in order to register as a qualified practitioner (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2009). Prior to this intervention, namely the setting up of Welsh-medium antenatal education classes, there were no practicing midwives providing this service, despite a number of them being Welsh-speaking. This situation is not surprising in healthcare as evidenced in a study conducted by Roberts and Paden (2000) where the use of the Welsh language was less prevalent in formal situations than in casual conversation on the ward.
Consequently, this intervention enabled students opting to study the practical module through the Welsh-medium to learn and be assessed on this component in their mother-tongue and, thus, placed them on an equal footing with their English-speaking counterparts. It was hypothesised that this would not only allow them to increase their language awareness, a skill best learnt in the clinical setting (Irvine, Roberts, Tranter, Williams & Jones, 2009) but also develop in them the confidence to deliver Welsh-medium antenatal education classes and thereby, in the long-term, extend the number of staff who feel competent in this skill.
Irvine, F.E., Roberts, G.W., Tranter, S., Williams, L., & Jones, P. (2008). Using the critical incident technique to explore student nurses’ perceptions of language awareness. Nurse Education Today, 28, 39-47.
Nursing and Midwifery Council. (2009). Standards for pre-registration midwifery education. London: NMC.