The self-perception of preparedness for midwifery practice of final-year nursing students at a university in the Western Cape, South Africa
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Background: Globally, nurses and midwives are the most important healthcare providers. In most countries, nurses and midwives are often the first point of contact to healthcare, and in many rural areas, they are the only point of contact for patients. Skilled midwives are essential for the care of pregnant women and the safe delivery of their infants. Midwives play an important role in promoting the health and wellbeing of women, newborns and their families. In South Africa, slow progress in reducing maternal mortality can be partially attributed to a lack of appropriately trained health professionals to render some basic maternal care services. Aim & objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the self-perception of preparedness for midwifery practice of final-year nursing students at a university in the Western Cape, South Africa. The objectives of the study were to: identify midwifery skills final-year nursing students found challenging to perform independently, determine the level of confidence of final-year nursing students for managing patients in the maternity unit, determine the level of comfort/confidence of final-year nursing students in key practice skills performance, and collect baseline evidence of nursing students’ perceptions of self-preparedness to inform the higher education institution of gaps and needs identified by nursing students. Methodology: A quantitative research approach using a descriptive survey design was implemented to gather information. A self-administered questionnaire using the Casey-Fink Readiness for Practice Survey was used. Due to the limited size of the population, an all-inclusive sampling strategy was utilised, with a sample size of N=217. At the time of the survey, only 164 nursing students attended class. Only 112 questionnaires were returned, yielding a response rate of 70.88%. All returned questionnaires had no missing data. SPSS Statistics version 25 was utilised for data analysis. Descriptive statistics, frequencies and tests for association were utilised.