'Making a difference': midwives' experiences of caring for women
Authors: Thomas, B.G.
Journal: Evidence Based Midwifery
Aim: To identify themes and concepts of midwifery in the first phase of a four stage qualitative study, ultimately to generate an educational strategy that would lead to the development of ‘woman-centred’ midwives.
Method: A grounded theory approach was used; data were collected from individual interviews with fourteen NHS midwives who volunteered to participate and represented a range of midwifery experiences in differing NHS practice settings. Results: The midwives had some very satisfying experiences when supporting women through pregnancy and birth, feeling they could ‘make a difference’ for women. They felt the need to ‘prepare’ women for the birth experience but were reluctant at times to share the realities of labour, wanting to protect them. The midwives felt a responsibility to be in control, but often felt that others had taken over that control. This led to negative experiences, dissatisfaction and frustration when they felt powerless to help women have a satisfying experience.
Conclusion: Midwives working in a large bureaucracy like the N.H.S. may feel impotent and unable to support women consistently in achieving their goals and expectations. There are implications for the learning experience of student midwives and the next phase of the project will explore the experience of midwives working outside of traditional maternity services as a means to comparison.
Preferred by: Gail Thomas