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Selected Principles of Teaching and Learning Applied to Nurse-Midwifery Clinical Education


  • Joyce Beebe Thompson C.N.M., Dr.P.H.

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    • Joyce Beebe Thompson is Associate Professor and Director of Nurse-midwifery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia. She is a 1966 graduate of Maternity Center Association, and has practiced midwifery in New York, Chile, and Pennsylvania. She has taught nurse-midwifery since 1971 at both certificate and master's basic levels. In 1981, she coauthored the text, Ethics in Nursing (Macmillan), with Henry O. Thompson.

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Nursing Education Building/S2, Philadelphia, PA 19104.


Clinical teaching is a vital component of any practice discipline and comprises almost two-thirds of the teaching time for any nurse-midwifery educator. Yet, clinical educators (academic or preceptor) often have had little or no preparation for their important role in preparing the nurse-midwives of the future. It has often been assumed that good clinicians make good teachers, but this assumption has left both teachers and students frustrated, or worse, afraid to pursue any further teaching or learning.

This article is a synthesis of ideas and practical experience related to teaching and learning in the clinical setting, specifically based on knowledge of how adults learn, what constitutes knowledge, and how learning principles can guide the clinical teacher in her or his teaching efforts.