Original Research

Expected clinical competence from midwifery graduates during community service placement in Limpopo province, South Africa

Khathutshelo G. Netshisaulu, Maria S. Maputle
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 23 | a1166 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v23i0.1166 | © 2018 Maria Sonto Maputle | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 April 2018 | Published: 29 November 2018

About the author(s)

Khathutshelo G. Netshisaulu, Department of Advanced Nursing Science, University of Venda, South Africa
Maria S. Maputle, Department of Advanced Nursing Science, University of Venda, South Africa

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Background: Community service nurses are placed in a hospital within the first year after qualifying to obtain clinical experience under the supervision of experienced professional nurses. When placed in clinical environments, new midwifery graduates are expected to be job ready, demonstrate competence in the provision of evidence-based care, practise independently and assume accountability and responsibility for their own actions.

Aim: The study aimed at exploring the expectations of experienced midwives of clinical competence of newly graduated midwives during transition.

Setting: The study was conducted at the training hospitals of the five districts in Limpopo province.

Method: The researcher used a qualitative approach which is explorative and descriptive in nature. The population comprised all the professional midwives with experience of 5 years and above working at the selected hospitals in Vhembe, Mopani, Capricorn, Waterberg and Sekhukhune districts of Limpopo province, South Africa. From each selected hospital, five experienced midwives were selected using non-probability, purposive sampling method. An in-depth individual face-to-face interview was used to collect data from the participants, until saturation was reached. The open-coding, Tesch’s eight-step process was used to analyse data.

Results: Results revealed that newly graduated midwives failed to meet the perceived expectations by experienced midwives; this was reflected in sub-themes: limited sense of independence, limited participation in task sharing and commitment and competence versus incompetence to patient care.

Conclusion: The experienced midwives expected newly graduated midwives to function as professionals; unfortunately, they expressed disappointment as graduates did not meet their expectations. Newly graduated midwives lacked sense of independence, commitment to patient care and did not display ability in task sharing.


clinical competence; community service; experienced midwives; newly graduated midwives; transition


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