Time to make midwifery matter in Ireland.
About: This article is published in The practising midwife.The article was published on 2010-02-01 and is currently open access. It has received 2 citations till now.
TL;DR: A virtual classroom learning session to give Danish and Irish midwifery students an opportunity to explore midWifery and maternity care in another country and enrich students' knowledge of cultural differences can offer a real, engaging and positive learning experience.
Abstract: Background Studying abroad promotes cultural awareness and understanding of different healthcare settings and practices but family or financial constraints prevent some students from taking advantage of these opportunities. We developed a virtual classroom learning session to give Danish and Irish midwifery students an opportunity to explore midwifery and maternity care in another country. Objectives To evaluate the content of midwifery students' chat room discussions about the differences in maternity and midwifery care during an international online learning session, and their opinions of the session. Participants 27 Danish and 37 Irish undergraduate direct entry midwifery students. Methods Content analysis of students' chat room discussions and post-session survey. Findings Students engaged enthusiastically in the chat room discussions throughout the session. Almost all of the interactivity was between students themselves, and questions raised by students from one country were answered by students in the other country. Discussions centred on the lecture content, rates of interventions and birth outcomes, but developed into broader issues relating to one-to-one midwifery care during labour, factors that facilitate normal birth, national data availability, staffing levels, and financial and cultural aspects of having children at earlier or later ages. In the survey, students described the session as awakening curiosity and a fun way to learn. They found it ‘cool’ to talk with real students from another country, a memorable way of discussing differences between the two maternity care systems and expanding knowledge. Negative comments related to technological problems. Conclusion An international virtual classroom learning session can give midwifery students insights into midwifery elsewhere, stimulate curiosity and be an engaging way to learn. Our students' experiences show that it can offer a real, engaging and positive learning experience and enrich students' knowledge of cultural differences.
17 Oct 2011
TL;DR: The study provides an insight into the experience of labour ward midwives and how midwifery identities are revealed by the narratives they relate and highlights the complexity of contemporary maternity care in large centralised maternity units.
Abstract: Midwifery practice in Ireland has emerged from a system of care dominated by the biomedical model of childbirth. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of labour ward midwives who are potentially complicit with this approach. This study reveals how midwives’ environment impacts on their construction of childbirth. The opening of a large new maternity hospital afforded the opportunity to see if the move to this setting would influence midwifery practice. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used based on the work of Heidegger and Gadamer. The study was undertaken in two phases, the first involved interviewing six labour ward midwives working in a busy obstetric led labour ward which was due to close. The findings revealed that midwives complied with the norms for the unit and did not take responsibility for the biomedical approach to care. The second phase was undertaken twelve months after the opening of the hospital which was an amalgamation of three maternity units. Seventeen midwives were interviewed for this phase of the study. The move to the larger unit revealed a paradox for midwifery autonomy and enabled midwives to practice in new ways. The maternity service was delivered through a system that values detachment and an attempt at equal (not individualised) care under conditions of limited resources and constraints. This had resonance with Lipsky’s and Foucault’s work. A contrasting situation occurred within the individual labour rooms as the midwives worked in relative isolation, away from the general activity of the unit. This phase of data was framed in terms of Merleau-Ponty’s four existentials. Midwives had opportunities to enact ‘real midwifery’ and normalise birth for women using a range of strategies rather than resorting to interventionist therapies. Midwives shared in the joy of achievement when positive births occurred. The paradox of this mega maternity unit enabled authentic midwifery to emerge. The study provides an insight into the experience of labour ward midwives and how midwifery identities are revealed by the narratives they relate. It also highlights the complexity of contemporary maternity care in large centralised maternity units.
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