Personal Birth Accounts as a Teaching Tool in Maternal Newborn Nursing

Tuesday, 23 July 2013: 1:50 PM

Cheryl Ann Corbett, APRN, MSN, NP-C
Shelly J. Reed, DNP, APRN
College of Nursing, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to determine the significance of personal birth accounts as a teaching strategy in preparation to learning maternal newborn course content.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify two commonly shared themes from personal birth accounts.


To describe utilizing personal birth accounts as groundwork for studying maternal newborn nursing in undergraduate nursing curriculum. Birth stories are personal narratives grounded in the meaningful experience of giving birth.  Sharing birth stories empowers women as they recall a significant life event and are allowed an opportunity to talk about and understand the experience. Sharing birth stories fosters critical thinking skills and provides an effective method of opportunity for analytic inquiry (Callister, 2004). 


Students from a maternal newborn nursing course (n=60) were given an assignment to learn the story of their birth through interviewing their mothers and adding their personal response. Following IRB approval and informed consent, birth stories were chosen at random and analyzed for themes until saturation of themes was reached. Focus groups were held with students to discuss the impact of the assignment on their learning. Input was also obtained from course faculty concerning the contribution to student learning.


Hearing their own birth stories personalized the maternal/newborn topics discussed in the course for students. The accounts raised questions concerning evidence-based practices as they tried to resolve questions concerning their own births.  Faculty felt birth stories contributed to student critical thinking and knowledge through discussion of the topics in clinical conferences and for evidence-based course assignments.


The use of a birth story assignment provides many positive outcomes for both faculty and students, including personalizing course content and stimulating student interest in analytic inquiry.