New research examines the workplace and working conditions of midwives.

Midwives report a considerably poorer work environment, from many aspects, than those working on the Swedish labor market generally. Stressful work, emotional demands, and low influence are just a few of the causes. A new thesis from the University of Gothenburg has presented these findings.

There does not appear to be an absence of midwives in Sweden but there is a lack of sustainable working conditions and a sustainable work life.”

Malin Hansson, PhD, Institute of Health and Care Sciences at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg

Her thesis consists of several studies. One of them is based on an extensive national survey where 2,060 midwives at different workplaces throughout Sweden were asked about their working conditions. The midwives’ median age were 48 and they were in the profession for an average of 16 years. Only 52 percent worked full-time. Their responses, given between February and April of 2020, were compared with the working Swedish reference population.

The midwives had negative ratings, significantly worse than the reference population, for work speed, role conflicts, burnout, quantitative and emotional demands influence self-rated health.

Both important and stressful

The respondents also gave low ratings to what’s known as “organizational justice” which is, how employees see the fairness of their own company’s decisions, behavior and actions, and how these, in turn, affect employees’ trust in the organization.

In certain regions, midwives showed positive deviations from the reference population. These aspects were the meaning and diversity of their work. Professional courage is needed to maintain a sense of meaning in a stressful environment. Professional courage and meaning are health-promoting protective resources that need to be developed, Hansson says.

“Midwives find great satisfaction in their work, but also a strained work situation which creates an environment that is factory-like and medicalized, with a high demand and insufficient support and organizational resources.”

Changed management and governance

According to Malin Hansson, the research in her thesis provide support for increased staffing and a more professional role that requires clarification at all levels, including that of management. This will allow for midwives to work in a women-centered, evidence-based manner, based on the midwife’s area of expertise. Additionally, there is support for the model of one-to-one care.

There is also a need for more distinct health care and higher levels of care that could allow for a variety of services including home births, to midwifery-led units, with high-quality medically-supervised hospital care when needed. This would be better for women and also making obstetrics more likely retain midwives and draw new graduates and those who have left the field.

Hansson states that a healthier work environment and improved health for midwives will be cost-effective, and allow women to receive high-quality, safe women-centered health care.

“The results of the thesis lay the foundation for health care institutions to implement the necessary structural changes that are needed in terms of governance, management, organization, and resource allocation, so as to improve the working and working conditions for midwives,” she concludes.

Content Source:

Gemma Wilson

Gemma is a journalism graduate with keen interest in covering business news – specifically startups. She has as a keen eye for technologies and has predicted quite a few successful startups over the last couple of years.

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