The experiences of new graduate midwives working in midwifery continuity of care models in Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Midwifery, 2015, 31 (4), pp. 438 - 444
Issue Date:
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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Background: Midwifery continuity of care has been shown to be beneficial to women through reducing interventions and other maternal and neonatal morbidity. In Australia, numerous government reports recognise the importance of midwifery models of care that provide continuity. Given the benefits, midwives, including new graduate midwives, should have the opportunity to work in these models of care. Historically, new graduates have been required to have a number of years' experience before they are able to work in these models of care although a small number have been able to move into these models as new graduates. Aim: to explore the experiences of the new graduate midwives who have worked in midwifery continuity of care, in particular, the support they received; and, to establish the facilitators and barriers to the expansion of new graduate positions in midwifery continuity of care models. Method: a qualitative descriptive study was undertaken framed by the concept of continuity of care. Findings: the new graduate midwives valued the relationship with the women and with the group of midwives they worked alongside. The ability to develop trusting relationships, consolidate skills and knowledge, be supported by the group and finally feeling prepared to work in midwifery continuity of care from their degree were all sub-themes. All of these factors led to the participants feeling as though they were 'becoming a real midwife'. Conclusions: this is the first study to demonstrate that new graduate midwives value working in midwifery continuity of care - they felt well prepared to work in this way from their degree and were supported by midwives they worked alongside. The participants reported having more confidence to practice when they have a relationship with the woman, as occurs in these models.
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