Enabling new graduate midwives to work in midwifery continuity of care models in Australia

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2016
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[Background] Midwifery continuity of care is care provided to a woman throughout pregnancy, birth and the early parenting period, from one midwife or a small group of midwives. Midwifery continuity of care is considered the gold standard of care for women - they will experience less obstetric intervention and higher levels of satisfaction with their birth experience. Newly graduated midwives are ideally placed to work in these models, especially as in Australia they have had continuity of care opportunities through their education. However, there are limited opportunities in Australia for new graduate midwives to work in midwifery continuity of care and the literature focuses on new graduate midwives working in standard hospital transition to professional practice programs without midwifery continuity of care. This study was interested in exploring where midwifery continuity of care was available for new graduates, their experiences and how this might be expanded across the country. [Aims] The aim of the research was to: 1. Explore the experiences of new graduate midwives who work in midwifery continuity of care models in Australia. 2. Explore the facilitators and barriers to employing and supporting new graduate midwives working in midwifery continuity of care models. [Methods] This research was conducted in two phases. Phase one explored the experiences of new graduate midwives working in midwifery continuity of care models. Phase two explored the facilitators and barriers to employing new graduate midwives in midwifery continuity of care models. A qualitative study was undertaken. Data were collected through face-to-face, phone and Skype interviews. A thematic analysis was undertaken and the theories of continuity of care and the diffusion of innovation were used to further analyse the data. The study was set in Australia. [Results] The new graduate midwives built trusting relationships with the women, consolidating skills through knowing the women. They built trusting relationships with the small group of midwives they worked alongside and this provided the new graduates with a high level of support. The barriers to employing new graduate midwives in midwifery continuity of care models were overcome by visionary leaders. [Conclusions] The findings provide unique insights into the experiences of new graduate midwives who work in midwifery continuity of care models and the challenges of employing them into the models. New graduate midwives are prepared and feel supported to work in midwifery continuity of care models. Managers and other key stakeholders provide high levels of support to new graduate midwives working in the models. This research provides a conceptual model that identifies the essential elements to enabling new graduate midwives to work in midwifery continuity of care models.
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