Diversifying the Midwifery Workforce: Inclusivity, Culturally Sensitive Bridging, and InnovationSymbol

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Abstract

Midwifery educators and regulators in Canada have begun to address diversity, equity, and inclusion in admission processes and program curricula. Populations served by midwives value internationally educated midwives from their countries of origin. The International Midwifery Pre-Registration Program at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, provides assessment, midwifery workplace orientation, and accelerated education for internationally educated midwives on behalf of the regulatory College of Midwives of Ontario. Between 2003 and 2015, midwives from 41 countries participated in the bridging program, and 214 (80%) successfully completed the program and qualified for licensure. Of these 214 graduates, 100% passed the Canadian Midwifery Registration Examination and 193 (90%) were employed full time as midwives within 4 months of graduation. The program curriculum enables the integration of these midwives into health care workplaces utilizing innovative approaches to assessment and competency enhancement. Critical to the bridging process are simulation-based practices to develop effective psychomotor learning, virtual and real primary care community placements, and coaching in empathetic, client-centered communication. Cultural sensitivity is embedded into the multiple assessment and learning modalities, and addresses relevant barriers faced by immigrant midwives in the workplace. Findings from the 13 years of the program may be applicable to increase diversity in other North American midwifery settings. This article describes the process, content, outcomes, and findings of the program. Midwifery educators and regulators may consider the utility of these approaches for their settings.

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