Thursday, May 29, 2008

Where is the Desire to Learn?

Had an interesting experience a couple of weeks back that I have to share. I don't know how much I can say with regard to specifics and the questions asked, but I'll share with you something that really rocked my sense of trust in the midwifery qualification. I sat on an examination panel as a consumer representative (as a representative of Birthrites: Healing After Caesarean), for the local university on Tuesday. The students were the post graduate diploma of midwifery students, all of whom are already nurses, and have already studied at a tertiary level for a number of years. I responded to a call for someone to attend from the convenor, and was happy to put the kids into care for the day for the opportunity to have something else to put on my eventual portfolio when applying for either the BMid or the BNurs/BMid... it's all very selfish really. The university had obviously requested consumer reps from a couple of groups, as when I arrived, I met with a fellow activist, who is active with Maternity Coalition here.

But anyway... this examination was something that the students were given 6 weeks to prepare for. And from what I could gather, as someone who is not even educated in Midwifery, it was a very basic knowledge that was called upon in response to the questions asked. But for the most part, the students could not even offer this.

4 months into a post graduate midwifery degree and I can't believe how much they DON'T know. It was if they had read the lecture notes, and skimmed their text books, and that was it. They had done NO wider reading, had not sought out other midwives already practicing to talk about anything, had not contacted a singly consumer organisation, not read anything from a journal article, not researched or reviewed ANYTHING. I was appalled.

Bear in mind that these women (and they were all women) already have a degree in Nursing, they are all doing POST GRADUATE study, so I think it is fair to assume that a desire to learn should exist. Otherwise I don't see the point in enrolling in a university course... unless it's just the payrise they are after. Ever the cynic.

I was under the impression that a desire to study midwifery would involve some understanding of what STUDY is. Study is NOT being spoonfed information, it is not being told all that you need to know. Study is about learning for ones self, aquiring knowledge by 'desiring to learn'.

I will admit that I met at least 3 students who did impress me with their knowledge, their commitment to self education and stepping outside the square of the university. One had (to her credit) become a subscribing member of a number of consumer organisations, and had attended information sessions outside of the university timetable. But that was ONE in TEN. Highly disturbing to think that the women who are planning on supporting women and babies in the BIGGEST and MOST IMPORTANT moment in their lives are seemingly totally disinterested in really learning.

It left a sour taste in my mouth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's very disturbing. It is also a good indication of how knowledge is managed in midwifery nowadays where being an obstetric nurse seems to be the overriding action whatever the theory. Their level of interest seems to be common among some groups in the profession who have no interest in their actual career path at all despite what an amazing honour and privilege they should judge it to be included in some of the most intimate and important times in a woman's life.
Janet