Midwifery workplace culture in Sydney, Australia.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Women and Birth, 2021
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Problem Aspects of the midwifery workplace culture have previously been measured as negative with limited leadership or support. Support for midwives is essential for them to face the complexity and workloads in Australian maternity units. Background Understanding the culture of the midwifery workplace is important to develop strategies to stem workforce attrition and to optimise care of women and their families. Aims This study aimed to assess midwives’ perceptions of workplace culture in two maternity units in Sydney, Australia, and compare the results with a national study using the same validated instrument. Method This study reports results using the Australian Midwifery Workplace Culture instrument (n = 49 midwives) and stakeholder groups (n = 10). Simple descriptive statistics were used, and the qualitative responses were analysed thematically. Findings Compared to the national sample, participants rated their workplace more favourably, especially their relationships with managers and colleagues. Over one-third (36.7%) considered that their workplace had a positive culture, compared with 27.9%. However, they rated their workplaces more negatively on time constraints and staff resources, and reported limited autonomy. Workplaces were highly medicalised which impacted their philosophy of woman-centred care and their ability to work autonomously. Discussion Factors related to collegiality in the workplace, relationship with managers, midwives’ intention to leave the profession and time constraints are discussed in comparison to the national study, as well as other relevant research. Conclusion Workplace collaboration, support, respect and understanding were extremely important to midwives, as were adequate staffing levels, teamwork and opportunities for further education.
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