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Sustainability and resilience in midwifery: a discussion paper

Crowther, Susan, Hunter, Billie, McAra-Couper, Judith, Warren, Lucie, Gilkison, Andrea, Hunter, Marion, Fielder, Anna and Kirkham, Mavis 2016. Sustainability and resilience in midwifery: a discussion paper. Midwifery 40 , pp. 40-48. 10.1016/j.midw.2016.06.005

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Background midwifery workforce issues are of international concern. Sustainable midwifery practice, and how resilience is a required quality for midwives, have begun to be researched. How these concepts are helpful to midwifery continues to be debated. It is important that such debates are framed so they can be empowering for midwives. Care is required not to conceptually label matters concerning the midwifery workforce without judicious scrutiny and diligence. Aim the aim of this discussion paper is to explore the concepts of sustainability and resilience now being suggested in midwifery workforce literature. Whether sustainability and resilience are concepts useful in midwifery workforce development is questioned. Method using published primary midwifery research from United Kingdom and New Zealand the concepts of sustainability and resilience are compared, contrasted and explored. Findings there are obvious differences in models of midwifery care in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Despite these differences, the concepts of resilience and sustainability emerge as overlapping themes from the respective studies’ findings. Comparison between studies provides evidence of what is crucial in sustaining healthy resilient midwifery practice. Four common themes have been identified that traverse the different models of care; Self-determination, ability to self-care, cultivation of relationships both professionally and with women/families, and a passion, joy and love for midwifery. Conclusions the impact that midwifery models of care may have on sustainable practice and nurturing healthy resilient behaviors remains uncertain. The notion of resilience in midwifery as the panacea to resolve current concerns may need rethinking. Resilience may be interpreted as expecting midwives ‘to toughen up’ in a workplace setting that is socially, economically and culturally challenging. Sustainability calls for examination of the reciprocity between environments of working and the individual midwife. The findings invite further examination of contextual influences that affect the wellbeing of midwives across different models of care.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0266-6138
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 July 2016
Date of Acceptance: 6 June 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2020 14:56

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