Clinical Shadowing for Pre-Midwifery Students

Our midwifery shadowing program has been developed to give aspiring midwifery students opportunities to experience a hospital maternity department first hand. The program is open to both pre- and current midwifery students, and start dates are available throughout the year.

Throughout your placement, you’ll be mentored and closely supervised by an experienced midwife, allowing you to observe both natural births and Caesarean section deliveries safely, ethically and with appropriate patient consent.

As the leading specialist provider of pre-health student shadowing experiences, we’ve helped more than 10,000 future midwives, nurses and doctors to make the best educational and career decisions, based on true experiences of the real world.

Your Midwifery Shadowing Placement

Our midwifery placements are available as residential programs in the European city of Pula, Croatia, and on the Caribbean island of Dominican Republic. Our partner hospitals include specialist maternity facilities as well as obstetrics departments in general hospitals (the latter being ideal if you wish to combine a placement on our nursing program), and we can work with you to match you to the most suitable setting based on your education and specific interests.

A Gap Medics placement is about experiential  learning through direct observation of real-life hospital environments. On your first day, our Student Coordinator (a full-time member of our team, there to support you throughout your placement) will personally introduce you to your mentor, who you will shadow for most of your first week. Most of our mentors are themselves midwives, but in certain settings we may pair you with a different kind of health professional to give you a more valuable experience (for example, if you are spending a week with the specific aim of observing C-sections, your mentor that week may be an obstetric surgeon).

Babies, unfortunately, have a habit of being a little unreliable when it comes to scheduling their arrival into the world! However, we recognise that as an aspiring midwife, the opportunity to experience that magical moment will be high on your priority list. All of our placements are in units that are busy enough that you’re likely to get to observe at least a two deliveries in a typical week, and in busy weeks you could see five times that number. We recommend a minimum of two weeks for midwifery placements, in case mother nature is working against us.

When you are not in the delivery room or operating room, there is plenty of opportunity to experience the wider work of midwives and their department colleagues. Depending on your mentor and the needs of patients, this could include shadowing on the antenatal and postnatal wards, in neonatal intensive care, in outpatient clinics, or in some locations joining a community midwife on rural or home visits.

Kaylee Knights

On my second day of placement I got to witness my first birth and it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Being able to experience that intimate moment between mother and baby is so special and I am so thankful Gap Medics gave me the opportunity to see this.

Lowri Jones

I witnessed many beautiful natural and c-section births throughout the week, assisted midwives and doctors on the antenatal, prenatal, labour ward, ultrasound and theatres. Gap Medics basically saved my midwifery journey as afterwards I managed to carry on through all the hard times and I’m finally on my way to becoming a midwife.

Bethany Bruggeman

The dedicated midwives and obstetricians I shadowed took every opportunity to teach me about caring for women and their babies. I felt comfortable asking questions and that my mentors really cared about how my learning was progressing – they even quizzed us to keep us on our toes!

Bridie Mullarkey

I believe my time overseas taught me a lot about life in general! During my placement, I was able to witness how different cultures perceive and treat patients. It was amazing working with the healthcare professionals in the hospital and interacting with patients every day.

Rachel Crossley

My second week on the hospital program was in the obstetrics and gynaecology department, where I observed everything from C-sections to ultrasounds. The hospital aside, I loved exploring Warsaw. The weekends consisted of immersing myself in Polish culture, such as eating pirogies, going on bike tours of the city, and climbing to the top of the Palace of Culture and Science.

The Famous Gap Medics Social Life!

Your time in the hospital shadowing a midwife can be an intense experience, especially in a foreign country, but our support service and the social side of our program make it a whole lot less daunting.

Wherever you go, you’ll live in one of our own safe, secure and super friendly Gap Medics houses. Rooms are shared with students of the same gender, which is a great way to help you quickly form friendships you’ll keep for years to come, and the lively atmosphere around the social areas and gardens with private swimming pools is a huge part of what makes our programs so popular.

Around half our students come from the United States, with the rest coming from the UK, Australia, and many other countries around the world. As well as that peer support, every program has a dedicated Gap Medics staff team made up of passionate local people under the leadership of an experienced Program Manager. From the person who meets you at the airport, to the Chef who cooks your meals and the Student Coordinator who will personally introduce you to your hospital mentors – all are part of the Gap Medics family.

Our Ethics

Gap Medics is a proudly ethical business, and we take seriously our opportunity – our responsibility – to contribute to the communities in which we work.

It’s very important to us that our partner hospitals gain real benefit from the program, and part of the fee you pay goes directly to them. This extra income stream is a huge help to hospitals that often struggle with under-funding, allowing them to buy equipment, medicines, beds, and even employ extra staff as a direct result of receiving students.

We pass on a further proportion of your fee to the individual midwife who personally mentors you each week, as an important recognition of their value to the program. In hospitals where funding limitations often mean losing the best health professional to private practice or the draw of better pay overseas, the extra income our mentors receive has a real impact in retaining talent to serve the local population.

Our Operations Managers put a great deal of focus on professional ethics when working with our partner hospitals to ensure that the presence of students doesn’t compromise safety (their own or other people’s) or patient care. Placements are strictly observational, except where the supervising clinician allows students to undertake activities that do not require specialist training (such as taking blood pressures) under close supervision.

We also believe passionately in respecting and taking care of our natural environment, and that influences every operational decision we take. We are gradually converting as many of our houses as we can to solar energy and installing reverse osmosis water purifiers to cut the use of plastic water bottles. We use fresh, local, seasonal ingredients in the food we cook wherever possible, and some of our houses already compost our food waste to feed the garden to grow more.

Get involved!

Our program is designed with the flexibility to fit around the other commitments of busy pre-health students who join us from all over the world. Placements are available starting any week of the year, and you can choose to spend from one week to as long as you like (most students choose between two and four weeks).

Apply using our simple online Application Form, and you can pay the Registration Fee ($450) securely online to immediately secure a position on our waiting list. One of our expert Placement Advisors will then contact you by phone or email to confirm your placement, guide you through the next steps of the process, and get you set up on our online preparation portal, My Gap Medics.

If we do not have availability for your preferred destination and dates, we’ll work with you to find an alternative option – or refund your Registration Fee in full if we are unable to offer you a placement at all. Please bear in mind that our programs are very popular, especially between May and August, so the earlier in advance you can apply the more likely you are to get your first choice.

The remaining cost of your placement depends on the destination you choose and number of weeks (see our Prices page). This covers a comprehensive package that includes your hospital placement, professional mentoring, global health tutorials, accommodation in our own Gap Medics House, food prepared fresh by our in-house Chef and personal support from our friendly team every step of the way.