What do we know about midwives’ transition from clinical practice to higher education teaching roles? A scoping review

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Nurse Education in Practice






School of Nursing and Midwifery


Gray, M., Baker, M., & De Leo, A. (2023). What do we know about midwives’ transition from clinical practice to higher education teaching roles? A scoping review. Nurse Education in Practice, 67, Article 103531. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2022.103531


Objective: The aim of this review was to examine the literature to identify what is known about midwives’ experiences as academics and their perspectives of transition from clinical practice to university. Introduction: Literature on health care practitioners, particularly nurses’ transition from clinical experts to novice teachers suggests the transition to academia is challenging.Challenges reported by research studies have identified stress, uncertainty, and lack of a supportive and structured transition. There was a dearth of primary research evidence of midwives’ perspectives. Methods: A scoping review using the Johanna Briggs Institute three step approach was employed. First, an initial limited search of Google Scholar and CINAHL was undertaken to identify articles on the topic. Second, the text words contained in the titles and abstracts of relevant articles and the index terms used to describe the articles were used to develop a complete search strategy in databases: EMBASE, MIDIRS, Scopus and PubMed. Finally, a manual search of the reference lists of all included sources of evidence was manually searched for additional studies. Results: Ten papers that included midwives as the participants were located from Australia, The United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA) between 2006 and 2022. Analysis of the findings led to three themes: Theme 1: Challenges associated with the transition; Theme 2: Dichotomy of identity; and Theme 3: Fear of losing clinical credibility. Conclusion: In most studies midwives formed a subset of the sample meaning that the voices of midwifery academics are minimised by the experiences of other health practitioners. However, in depth details were located from four personal reflections which identified that transition from clinical practice to academia can result in a duality of roles while individuals come to terms with their new reality and overcome their fear of losing credibility as clinicians. New academics from health tend to hold onto their identity as clinicians rather than adopting their new persona as academics. Fear of losing credibility stems from the need to maintain competence for continued professional registration as clinicians. Further research is needed which focuses on midwives as the target sample to validate the research evidence from this scoping review.



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