Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Nurse Education Today






School of Nursing and Midwifery


Buchanan, K., Ross, C., Bloxsome, D., Hocking, J., & Bayes, S. (2024). Development of a midwifery student peer debriefing tool: An interpretive descriptive study. Nurse Education Today, 137, article 106167.


Background: Psychosocial traumatisation associated with giving birth, can occur in those present with the woman giving birth, a phenomenon known as vicarious trauma. It has been identified that there are currently no interventions available for midwifery students who have experienced vicarious trauma following difficult birth experiences. Objective: To explore whether the counselling intervention developed by Gamble et al. (2005), can be adapted for midwifery students to be appropriately and feasibly used as a counselling intervention with peers who have experienced midwifery practice-related vicarious trauma. Design: Interpretive descriptive methodology. Setting: This study was set at two Australian universities from which pre-registration midwifery courses are delivered. Participants: The work of reviewing the original tool and adapting it for use by and with midwifery students associated with this project was conducted by a key stakeholder group of seven representative midwifery students and five midwifery academics. Methods: Ethics were approved. Data were collected via one face to face and two online conversations using the Microsoft Teams™ platform. Reflexive Thematic analysis were applied to revise the tool following each round of data collection and to finalise the adaptation of the intervention for its new intended purpose. Results: The Midwifery Student Peer Debriefing Tool is presented as a six-step intervention that guides the midwifery student through a process of debriefing with their peer. The feasibility of the tool resulted in an overarching theme labelled “I want this to mean something” and captures the therapeutic power of peer debriefing toward a meaningful outcome that fostered growth, and a deeper understanding of the profession. Conclusion: Vicarious trauma is widely recognised as a core reason for midwives and midwifery students leaving the workforce. The peer debriefing tool helps midwifery students move through the process of recovering from adversity but also fostered learnings about midwifery practice and the profession.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.