Objective: to assess the effect of implementation of the extended placement option available to midwifery students during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Design: Online survey open from 2nd June 2020 to 15th July 2020. Setting: United Kingdom.

Participants: Lead Midwives for Education (LMEs).

Findings: A total of 38 of 55 LMEs responded (response rate 69%). The majority of Approved Education Institutions (AEIs) offered an extended placement to students, but with some variation in the choices offered, unrelated to geographical location or size of student cohort. AEIs appeared to provide the majority of decisional support for students. Many practice learning environments became unavailable, particularly community, gynaecology/medical wards and neonatal units. LMEs experienced both internal and external pressures to instigate rapid change.

Key conclusions: The impact of COVID-19 on midwifery education is significant and will need continual scrutiny to minimise future detriment. The pressures of providing midwifery education throughout the early phase of COVID-19 were substantial, but it is important that we learn from the immediate changes made, value and pursue the changes that have been beneficial, and learn from those that were not.

Implications for Practice/Research: Student learning experiences have undergone significant change during the pandemic. It is essential to assess what effect the extended placement has had on student readiness for practice, their confidence, resilience, mental health, and attrition and retention. Educators transitioned to remote working, and rapidly assimilated new skills for online education; exploration of the impact of this is recommended.


This item is embargoed on the source repository. During the embargo, please use the contact e-mail given under 'Files' to request a copy from the repository for personal use. An online ahead of publication version is available, please follow the DOI link (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2021.103048) to view the paper. To see rights for your intended usage please visit: https://s100.copyright.com/AppDispatchServlet?publisherName=ELS&contentID=S0266613821001273&orderBeanReset=true .

Cite as

Cooke, A., Hancock, A., White, H., Clark, N., Gibb, F., McNeill, J., Thomas, G., Lloyd, C. & Furber, C. 2021, 'Exploring the STEP-uP to practice: a survey of UK lead midwives for education views of the STudent midwife extended practice placement during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic', Midwifery, 101, article no: 103048. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2021.103048

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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