Midwifery practice learning

Our Midwifery students gain clinical experience in a range of learning environments as part of their training.

You will develop your midwifery skills, working regularly with midwives who have undergone additional training to enable them to support, teach and assess students.

Range of learning environments

We have excellent relationships with our NHS Trust partners, who provide experience in many learning environments, including:

  • community midwifery, including experience of providing continuity of care
  • antenatal clinics
  • day care
  • obstetric-led birth suites
  • midwifery-led birth centres
  • antenatal and postnatal wards
  • neonatal special care
  • short experiences in gynaecological and medical settings.

You will also visit or work with a range of other specialist services.


Learning in practice is facilitated by a range of qualified healthcare professionals, predominantly midwives, who are trained to support, supervise and assess students' learning. You will usually be expected to work the same shifts as your practice supervisors. Shift times vary. These examples are for guidance only:

  • Early shift - 07:15 to 15:30
  • Late shift - 13:00 to 21:30
  • Day shift (for example, community): 08:30 to 17:30
  • Night duty - 19:00 to 08:00
  • Long day - 07:00 to 20:00

Many NHS Trusts have a two-shift system to cover the 24-hour period. Students are expected to work nights and weekends, but this will vary depending on the learning environment and your practice supervisors' work pattern.

The more flexible you can be about when you work, the better your learning experiences are likely to be. A request for a day off for a special occasion can usually be accommodated.

In some learning environments, you may be expected to be 'on call' alongside your practice supervisor. All clinical hours are recorded. We have stringent attendance policies to meet NMC requirements.

Applicants should carefully consider their ability to meet the demands of travelling to placements, working shifts and completing the rigorous study requirements of the course.

In Year 1, your practice learning and theory-based learning will be mostly integrated within one week. Towards the end of Year 1, and in Years 2 and 3, you will have blocks of full weeks in a practice learning environment, and full weeks studying theory. Year 4 will revert to integrated weeks.

Off-duty patterns and theory learning for a student midwife might look like this (please note that university days can vary):

Year 1 example Uni Uni Day off Long day Long day Day off Day off
Year 1 example Uni Uni Day off Day off Day off Long Long
Block theory example Uni Uni Uni Uni Uni Day off Day off
Block practice example 1 Early Late Early Day off Day off Late Early
Block practice example 2 Day off Day off Day off Night Night Night Day off
Block practice example 3 Long day Day off Long day Long day Day off Day off Day off
Block practice example 4 Day Day Day Day Day Day off Day off


Learning environments within community midwifery are often some distance from the hospital services. For example, students placed at St Mary's Hospital may have community allocations across the Salford area, and students placed in Stockport maternity services may experience rural midwifery in the High Peak area.

You will complete your Year 1 learning experiences in one NHS Trust and then complete learning experiences in subsequent years in another (subject to NHS provision).

Undertaking clinical experiences in two different localities has been positively evaluated by our students. Feedback has shown it provides a wider experience of cultural diversity, a deeper understanding of the different ways NHS services are provided, and greater confidence when applying for newly qualified midwife posts.

We do not offer a choice of NHS Trust, but will take account of your term-time address and transport plans as we allocate students to learning environments. However, we cannot guarantee that you will be placed in your closest maternity service.

You should carefully consider the time and financial costs of travelling to your clinical learning environment. Our policy allows students to be allocated to sites up to 1.5 hours' journey away from their term-time address, provided this is within Greater Manchester. Students travelling from outside of Manchester may well have longer journeys.

Currently, most students undertake their practice learning in the following NHS Trusts (subject to changes in the Maternity Services and NHS Agreements):

  • Wythenshawe Hospital (South Manchester, M23 9LT);
  • St Mary's Hospital (Central Manchester, M13 9WL);
  • Tameside General Hospital (Ashton-Under-Lyne, OL6 9RW);
  • North Manchester General Hospital (North Manchester, M8 5RB);
  • Royal Oldham Hospital, (Oldham, OL1 2HJ);
  • Stepping Hill Hospital (Stockport, SK2 7JE);
  • High Peak Area (Buxton, SK17 9NJ).

Other learning environments may become available. We also work closely with other universities using the same NHS Trusts for practice learning.

A useful journey planner enabling you to assess what your journey might be like when travelling to a site using public transport can be found on the Transport for Greater Manchester website. The University's postcode is M13 9PL.

You can see a map showing the location of some of our placement providers:


There will be seven timetabled weeks of holidays per year. This includes ten days in lieu of bank holidays. The holidays are set for the three years and are not negotiable.

Normally, students have the Christmas and New Year weeks as holiday. We also expect to offer students two weeks' annual leave during the main summer holidays.

No holidays should be booked until the leave dates have been confirmed. No holidays should be booked other than during the set holiday weeks.


The NMC requires students to complete the full course prior to professional registration. This means that any days missed for any reason (sickness, absence or compassionate leave) must be made up before the course is considered to have been completed.

Some missed lectures may be made up by providing evidence of relevant private study. Unauthorised absence may be considered a justification for referral to the Health and Conduct or Fitness to Practice Committees.

Uniform requirements

Initial sets of uniforms (dresses or tunics and trousers) are supplied by the University and must be worn correctly as per university and hospital policy. Students are responsible for washing their own uniforms. If necessary, replacement uniforms may be bought at a reasonable cost. You will need to supply your own work shoes, which must be plain black, flat, soft-soled and offer good foot support and protection.

NHS Trust uniform policies must be followed and this includes being bare below the elbows when working clinically in order to abide by infection control policies for the protection of mothers and babies.

NHS uniform policies also require that staff working in client-focused environments must have their faces visible and uncovered, except by personal protected equipment (PPE) in certain circumstances.

Supervision and assessment in clinical practice

After eight weeks in university, you will start your first practice learning experience in mid-November, facilitating the application of learning to the real world of midwifery practice.

While in practice, you will have access to a structured model of support and assessment that upholds the NMC Standards for Student Supervision and Assessment (2018).

You will practice with others playing an important role as part of the team; however, you are not counted in the numbers and remain supernumerary.

This structured support model includes the following key staff who have undergone additional education to prepare them for these roles.

Practice supervisor

Your practice supervisor(s) will support your learning and development throughout your allocated learning environment. This will be tailored to your individual needs and enable you to meet your outcomes. Supervisors provide ongoing feedback on your progress and discuss this with your nominated practice assessor and academic assessor.

Practice assessor

Your nominated practice assessor will assess your progress at regular intervals and give you feedback. Your assessor will discuss your progress with your academic assessor and, together, they will confirm achievement of the outcomes/proficiencies at the end of your allocated practice learning experience.

Academic assessor

Your academic assessor is normally a member of staff from within the Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work. They will communicate with your practice assessor at regular intervals as required, having oversight of your progress in theory and practice. They will monitor both elements to ensure progress is being made, your assessment is fair, and you have had opportunities to progress.

Your academic assessor, in collaboration with your practice assessor, will confirm and recommend your progression at the end of each part (year) of the course.

Eligibility for placements

Please note it is a requirement of our NHS placement providers that all BMidwif students are aged 18 or over at the point that they start their first placement.

All applicants must therefore be 18 or over by 1 November of the year you start the course. If you are still under 18 by 1 November, your application will either be rejected (with a suggestion that you re-apply the following year) or deferred by the Admissions team (subject to passing an interview and meeting all offer conditions).