Enhancing online post-graduate nursing and midwifery education experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic: The Food for Thought Discussion Space

Mrs Lynette Staff1

1University Of Tasmania, Mole Creek, Australia


“Food for thought” is a term used every day in conversation. This term gave rise to a discussion space that was originally created to foster engagement and learning for post graduate students in the online learning space. It is a space for post-graduate students to post their thoughts and feelings about thought-provoking articles, issues, encounters and experiences they contend with in their every-day work as nurses and midwives, as mothers and fathers, and as students of learning. Activities are dispersed throughout the unit content that ask students to put up their thoughts in the food for Thought Discussion Space to share with others. Posting into this space is not compulsory, however this space has proven very useful and popular, and by the end of the semester, it holds a wonderful repository of discussions and resources for students to build upon their knowledge. Students are advised that if they wish to share a clinical or life experience relating to their learning in this topic, the privacy of the people/organisation involved must be protected. This presentation provides insight into something that began as a small idea, but which has grown to become a pivotal centre point for learning and engagement, especially in light of the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, and all that this meant for students. It looks at the topics students introduced, the sheer number of threads created, why it is so popular and the flow-on effects it has had for students.


Lynne has been a midwife for 37 years and has worked in the public and private sectors across all areas of midwifery. She has taught midwifery in hospital and tertiary settings and is currently a lecturer in nursing and midwifery at the University of Tasmania. She completed her Honours research investigating women’s experience of Caesarean section (CS) . She is currently researching “The meanings first-time mothers having a scheduled Caesarean section attribute to labour, vaginal birth and to their CS”. Lynne is interested in the wider sociological and more complex issues that influence maternity and care of the pregnant woman.