Congratulation to Dr. Rachel Arnold and her Centre for Midwifery & Women’s Health research team on the publication yesterday of their paper ‘I might have cried in the changing room, but I still went to work’. Maternity staff balancing roles, responsibilities, and emotions of work and home during COVID-19: An appreciative inquiry . This paper focuses on how to support staff and enhance their well-being in a small UK maternity service. The underpinning methodological approach is appreciative inquiry using interviews with 39 maternity staff and four group discussions exploring meaningful experiences, values and factors that helped their well-being.
The key findings are that maternity staff members were highly motivated, managing a complex melee of emotions and responsibilities including challenges to professional confidence, mental health, family situation, and conflict between work-life roles. Despite staff shortages, a demanding workload, professional and personal turmoil, and the pandemic participants still found meaning in their work and relationships. The authors go on to argue for a ‘whole person’ approach, since this approach provided insight into the multiple stressors and emotional demands staff faced. It also revealed staff resourcefulness in managing their professional and personal roles. They invested in relationships with women but were also aware of their limits – the need to be self-caring, employ strategies to switch-off, set boundaries or keep a protective distance. Overall, the paper concludes hat staff’s well-being initiatives, and research into well-being, would benefit from adopting a holistic approach that incorporates home and family with work. Research on emotion regulation strategies could provide insights into managing roles, responsibilities, and the emotional demands of working in maternity services. Emotion regulation strategies could be included in midwifery and obstetric training.
This paper was proceeded by a more methodological paper on the application of Appreciative Inquiry in this study .
- Arnold, R., Way, S., Mahato, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2023) “I might have cried in the changing room, but I still went to work”. Maternity staff managing roles, responsibilities, and emotions of work and home during COVID-19: an Appreciative Inquiry, Women & Birth (online first)
- Arnold, R., Gordon, C., Way, S., Mahato, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2022) Why use Appreciative Inquiry? Lessons learned during COVID-19 in a UK maternity service, European Journal of Midwifery 6 (May): 1-7.
Congratulations to Dr. Rachel Arnold in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) on the publication today of her paper ‘Why use Appreciative Inquiry? Lessons learned during COVID-19 in a UK maternity service‘ . This methodological paper is co-authored with Dr. Clare Gordon who holds a has joint clinical academic post at UCLan and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, with a focus on developing clinically focused stroke research, education and improvement. Clare is also a former BU Ph.D. student. Further co-authors from CMMPH are Professors Sue Way and Edwin van Teijlingen. The final co-author, Dr. Preeti Mahato, finished her post in CMMPH two days ago to start her Lectureship in Global Health at Royal Holloway (part of the University of London).
The paper highlights that selecting the most appropriate research method is an important decision in any study. It affects the type of study questions that can be answered. In addition, the research method will have an impact on the participants – how much of their time it takes, whether the questions seem important to them and whether there is any benefit in taking part. This is especially important when conducting research with staff in health services. This article is a reflection on the process of using Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in a study that explored staff well-being in a UK maternity unit. The authors discuss our experience of using AI,the strengths and limitations of this approach, and conclude with points to consider if you are thinking about using AI. Although a study team was actively involved in decisions, this paper is largely based on reflections by dr. Arnold, the researcher conducting the field work in the maternity services.
Arnold, R., Gordon, C., van Teijlingen, E., Way, S., Mahato, P. (2022). Why use Appreciative Inquiry? Lessons learned during COVID-19 in a UK maternity service. European Journal of Midwifery, 6(May), 1-7. https://doi.org/10.18332/ejm/147444
Today Sunday 21st November was a midwifery dominated day today. This lunchtime a interdisciplinary team from CMMPH (Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health) at BU and the University of Exeter submitted a research proposal to the ICM (International Confederation of Midwives) on Midwife-Led Birthing Centres in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. As a personal observation: whoever thought that setting the submission deadline for a Sunday was a good idea has no respect for researchers’ work-life balance!
This afternoon many of us attended the March with Midwives vigils which were held nationwide in the UK to highlight issues with midwifery staffing and working conditions. The March with Midwives vigil took place in 50 towns and cities, as a vigil to make the general public and politicians aware about the maternity crisis. In Poole Park it attracted over fifty people.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Congratulations to Sara Stride and her PhD supervisors on the publication of ‘Identifying the factors that influence midwives’ perineal practice at the time of birth in the United Kingdom’ in the international journal Midwifery . The Obstetric Anal Sphincter Injuries (OASI) Care Bundle is designed to reduce the incidence of obstetric anal sphincter injuries. However, introducing behavioural change requires an understanding of current practice. This national study aims to establish midwives practice at the time of birth, and the factors that influence this. The paper concludes that there has been a growth in the number of midwives using “hands on” at the time of birth but midwives feel that they require additional training in regards to identifying an OASI. The study should be repeated following the roll out of the OASI care bundle, to identify its impact on midwives’ perineal practice. This nation-wide study identified the need for improvements in the recognition of OASI by midwives, and in future repeating the study would identify whether the OASI care bundle has influenced midwives’ practice.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
- Stride, S.L., Hundley, V.A., Way, S., Sheppard, Z.A. (2021) Identifying the factors that influence midwives’ perineal practice at the time of birth in the United Kingdom, Midwifery, 103077
Today the European Journal of Midwifery published our paper ‘Midwives’ views towards women using mHealth and eHealth to self-monitor their pregnancy: A systematic review of the literature’. There are many apps to help women to monitor aspects of their own pregnancy and maternal health. This literature review aims to understand midwives’ perspectives on women self-monitoring their pregnancy using eHealth and mHealth, and establish gaps in research. mHealth (mobile health) is the use of mobile devices, digital technologies for health, health analytics, or tele-health, whilst eHealth (electronic health) is the health care supported by electronic processes.
It established that midwives generally hold ambivalent views towards the use of eHealth and mHealth technologies in antenatal care. Often, midwives acknowledged the potential benefits of such technologies, such as their ability to modernise antenatal care and to help women make more informed decisions about their pregnancy. However, midwives were quick to point out the risks and limitations of these, such as the accuracy of conveyed information, and negative impacts on the patient-professional relationship. The authors conclude that with COVID-19 making face-to-face maternity service provision more complicated and with technology is continuously developing, there is a compelling need for studies that investigate the role of eHealth and mHealth in self-monitoring pregnancy, and the consequences this has for pregnant women, health professionals and organisations, as well as midwifery curricula.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)
- Vickery, M., Way, S., Hundley, V., Smith, G., van Teijlingen, E., Westwood G. (2020) Midwives’ views women’s use of mHealth and eHealth to self-monitor their pregnancy: A systematic review of the literature, European Journal of Midwifery 4: 36 DOI: https://doi.org/10.18332/ejm/126625