Midwifery students are a vital part of our future workforce.

The Nursing and Midwifery Office, NSW Health, commissioned  Exploring Student Midwives Experience (ESME) to explore how we could improve the experience of student midwives and the staff that support them.


ESME found that student midwives flourish in a supportive learning environment. It also gave us insight into the positive behaviour and experiences that help to create that environment.


Both student and registered midwives were asked how the student midwife experience could be improved.

Researchers also worked with Essentials of Care Coordinators (co-inquirers) in each of the LHDs to develop an experience-based understanding of being a student midwife.

ESME was an extensive collaboration between NSW Health and:

  • University of the West of Scotland, School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Research, Nepean Hospital
  • Western Sydney University
  • South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (St George Hospital)
  • Western Sydney Local Health District (Blacktown Hospital)
  • Hunter New England Local Health District (John Hunter Hospital)
  • Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (Nepean Hospital)


The ESME study was done using appreciative inquiry (AI) which is a strength-based method of developing practice.

Approximately 100 student and registered midwives from NSW discussed what was working well in their units in relation to learning, and how these could be built on to improve the experiences of student and registered midwives.

A model of co-creation was in place to guide the development of resources to assist in understanding the experiences of staff.

Facilitating Practice Development using Appreciative Inquiry

  • AI is a collaborative and appreciative change methodology (improvement methodology)
  • The seeds of change are in the first questions you ask (discovery)
  • Imagination of the staff in your setting is your greatest untapped resource (envisioning)
  • It assumes that in any situation, something works well, at least some of the time

The study followed the Appreciative Action Research Cycle that was developed by Professor Belinda Dewar as displayed below:


UWS - University of the wests of Scotland 

Part of the ESME : Resources for Sense-able Conversations Pack

Contact your Essentials of Care Coordinators.

Current as at: Thursday 9 December 2021
Contact page owner: Nursing and Midwifery