gms | German Medical Science

4th International Conference of the German Society of Midwifery Science (DGHWi)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hebammenwissenschaft e. V.

16.02.2018, Mainz

Exploring with student midwives the content and experience of attending an educational training workshop on bereavement care

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author Jean Doherty - National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  • Barbara Coughlan - University College Dublin, School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems, Dublin, Ireland; University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  • Brenda Casey - National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  • Barbara Lloyd - University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  • Lucille Sheehy - University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  • Anne McMahon - University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  • Mary Brosnan - National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  • Theresa Barry - National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  • Sarah Cullen - National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

German Association of Midwifery Science (DGHWi). 4th International Meeting of the German Association of Midwifery Science (DGHWi). Mainz, 16.-16.02.2018. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2018. Doc18dghwiP07

doi: 10.3205/18dghwi13, urn:nbn:de:0183-18dghwi138

Published: February 13, 2018

© 2018 Doherty et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Evaluating the effect of an educational intervention, in midwifery, serves to justify ongoing professional development. Although the quality of midwifery curricula is highly recognised in Ireland, research has demonstrated insufficient bereavement care training in this cohort [1], [2]. Only 18.7% of Irish midwives reported having sufficient bereavement support skills, and 33.2% reported adequate bereavement support knowledge, in one study [3]. As a result of these statistics, and in response to recommendations made by government bodies [4], a one day interactive workshop was developed by a Bereavement Research Group (Bereavement midwives and academics).

Aim: The aim of the study was to evaluate the workshop, which was developed to improve the confidence of student midwives in providing bereavement care.

Methods: A multiple methods design was used to address the aim of the study. 38 midwifery students participated in the Educational Training Workshop on Bereavement Care (ETWBC) and completed a series of questionnaires pre and post the bereavement care workshop and at a 3month follow-up. Twelve of the 38 students also participated in 2 focus groups (n=6 per group - 4th year BSc and 1st year Higher Diploma Midwifery Students). The focus groups were held within 10 days of completing the ETWBC. The Focus group discussion was audio recorded and the data transcribed. Thematic network analysis was utilised to identify themes within the data [5].

Results: From the thematic data analysis, 3 organising themes were identified: Workshop: General Feedback; Teaching Strategies; Exposure to bereavement.

The following is a summary of the main findings:

  • All students agreed that their confidence did increase, in the provision of bereavement care, after the workshop.
  • The variety of teaching strategies was commented on in a positive manner.
  • The role plays were deemed the best part of the day by all students.
  • The promotion of self care was achieved through maintaining a calming and positive atmosphere and facilitating a mindfulness session.
  • There was an agreement that, although some felt emotional from the topic, the workshop was still beneficial.

Although the workshop was deemed hugely beneficial, it was recognised that exposure was imperative to improve the confidence of all students and staff midwives.

Conclusion: Initial findings indicate that the provision of a bereavement training workshop that is interactive and provides opportunities to the students to engage in role play strengthens student midwives confidence in the provision on bereavement care in clinical practice.

Ethical criteria and conflict of interests: This research/project was approved by an ethics committee and was financed by third party funds: Nursing & Midwifery Planning & Development Unit (NMPDU), South Dublin, Kildare & Wicklow. There is no conflict of interest.


Gardner JM. Perinatal Death: Uncovering the Needs of Midwives and Nurses and Exploring Helpful Interventions in the United States, England and Japan. Jour Trans Nurs. 1999;10(2):120-30.
Wool C. Clinician Confidence and Comfort in Providing Perinatal Palliative Care. Jou Obst Gyn Neo. 2013;42(1):48-58.
Kalu FA. Confidence of Midwives to Provide Bereavement Support to Parents Following a Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death [Unpublished PhD Thesis]. University College Dublin; 2016.
Health Service Executive (HSE). National Standards for Bereavement Care Following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death. Dublin: HSE; 2016. [Zugriff/cited Oct 2017]. Verfügbar unter/available from: External link
Attride-Stirling J. Thematic Networks: an Analytical Tool for Qualitative Research. Qual Res. 2001;1:385-405.