Strengthening the maternity workforce

Study 1 – The needs of midwifery leaders in reforming maternity services

The influence of midwifery leaders is a crucial element in the translation of evidence into practice.

This qualitative descriptive study aims to identify what midwives in leadership positions in Australia need to enable them to be effective in their roles and drive maternity service reform.

Lead: Associate Professor Mary Sidebotham

Study 2 – Obstetricians views about continuity of midwifery care models

Obstetricians’ attitudes of health professionals may impact women’s maternity care options.

This project explores obstetricians’ attitudes towards continuity of midwifery care and how these attitudes may impact the implementation and sustainability of caseload midwifery models.

Lead: Professor Jenny Gamble

Study 3 – Midwives and maternity reform

A motivated, well-educated midwifery workforce is a critical factor in the implementation of continuity of midwifery care models.

This qualitative descriptive study explores the motivation, willingness and ability of midwives in Victoria to contribute to maternity services reform through working in and supporting continuity of midwifery practice models.

Lead: Associate Professor Mary Sidebotham

Study 4 – Obstetricians and trauma

Trauma during childbirth, such as maternal death or severe injury to a baby, impacts not only the family but also maternity staff, and may contribute to a range of psychological responses, including post-traumatic stress (PTSD).

For some medical practitioners subsequent trauma may include stress related to being reported to the medical board. Trauma exposure and PTSD has consequences for the mental health of the individual (including possible suicide) and can result in practitioners leaving the workforce. Doctors with burnout, or mental health conditions including PTSD, may be less able to provide appropriate patient care.

Little is currently known about the impact of birth trauma on the mental health of obstetricians in Australia and New Zealand.

This initial study in this program of work was a feasibility study with obstetricians about exposure to birth trauma, the development of trauma symptoms and posttraumatic growth. Participants perceived that ‘obstetricians experience substantial trauma’, that there was a ‘culture of blame in obstetrics’, and that only ‘some workplaces were supportive and safe’.

Co-Leads: Professors  Gamble, Creedy, Ellwood and Dr Andrea Walker (PhD student)