Clinical Teaching and Learning in Midwifery and Women's Health


  • Jeanne Raisler CNM, DrPH,

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    • Jeanne Raisler, CNM, DrPH, FACNM, is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan Nurse-Midwifery Program and a consultant to the Global AIDS Bureau of the Human Resources Service Administration (HRSA).

  • Michelle O'Grady CNM, MS,

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    • Michelle O'Grady, CNM, MS, is a Lecturer in the University of Michigan Nurse-Midwifery Program and the Faculty Director of the Health Sciences Scholars Program at the University of Michigan.

  • Jody Lori CNM, MS

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    • Jody Lori, CNM, MS, is a Lecturer at the University of Michigan Nurse-Midwifery Program, where she is working to develop student clinical rotations in Latin America.

  • In this article, clinical teaching refers to clinical supervision of students, whether by academic or clinical faculty, community midwives, or nurse-practitioners.

Jeanne Raisler, CNM, DrPH, University of Michigan School of Nursing, 400 North Ingalls, Room 3320, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0482.


Although there is an abundance of literature about clinical teaching in the health professions, a much smaller body of information focuses on the art and science of clinical teaching in midwifery and women's health. We reviewed preceptor handbooks, training manuals, and Web sites created by nursing and nurse-midwifery education programs, medical and pharmacy schools, and national associations of health professionals. Using the search terms (clinical teaching, clinical learning, preceptor, clerkship, residency training, and midwifery education), we searched the MEDLINE and CINAHL databases and health sciences libraries for relevant articles and books. The information and practical strategies about clinical teaching that we found are synthesized and presented in this article. It includes a discussion of challenges in clinical teaching; an overview of expectations and responsibilities of the education program, students, and preceptors; suggestions about orienting students to clinical sites; clinical teaching strategies and skills; suggestions for incorporating critical thinking and evidence-based care into clinical teaching; guidelines for giving constructive feedback and evaluation; characteristics of excellent clinical teachers; and suggestions about how education programs and professional associations can support and develop clinical sites and preceptors. The Appendix contains manuals, books, and Web sites devoted to clinical teaching.