ACEN Early Career Research Grant

Digital-First Business Transformation – COVID-19 – A Work-Integrated Learning Project to build SME resilience, learner agency and professional identity

Dr Lyn Ebert (The University of Newcastle) 

Midwifery students can accumulate between 1400 and 1600 hours undertaking allocated and on call WIL experiences. They often work with vulnerable women and sensitive issues, requiring professional debriefing otherwise known as clinical supervision. However, the complexities of midwifery WIL, including geographic and shift work constraints as well as competing family and study commitments make support through clinical supervision difficult to implement effectively.

This project, therefore, aims to address the difficulties in providing timely and effective clinical supervision through an online approach. Weekly online clinical supervision sessions, facilitated through Zoom, commenced in February 2020. Quantitative data is being collected through number of visits and number of interactions between students in the asynchronous discussion boards. Student participation in the synchronous or online clinical supervision sessions is also being collected. Qualitative feedback will be collected through Zoom focus group sessions at the end of the intervention period. It should be noted that COVID-19 and responses, by both the students’ WIL placement sites and the university, to the pandemic have impacted on the project in the following ways:

  • All clinical supervision sessions are now online, through the Zoom platform. That is, there is
  • no control group mode of clinical supervision.
  • Student clinical placement (WIL), was suspended for a period, impacting clinical experiences.
  • The focus group, scheduled for face to face mode, will need to be online.

While it is unclear how the current pandemic has impacted the study, consideration related to the impact will be discussed in the final report and publications. This proof of concept project is the first step in building strategic leadership around online technologies and accessible and sustainable clinical supervision and professional development support mechanisms for midwifery students’ WIL experiences in Australia. It is anticipated that findings will be available towards the end of 2020.

Photo by 东旭 王 on Unsplash