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Working in caseload midwifery care : the experience of midwives working in a birth centre in North Queensland
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by M Edmondson, Sandra Walker
Background: Pregnancy, birth and child rearing are significant life events for women and their families. The demand for services that are family friendly, women focused, safe and accessible is increasing. These demands and rights of women have led to increased government and consumer interest in continuity of care and the establishment in Australia of birth centres, and the introduction of caseload midwifery models of care. Aim: The aim of this research project was to uncover how birth centre midwives working within a caseload model care constructed their midwifery role in order to maintain a positive work–life balance. Methods: A Grounded Theory study using semi-structured individual interviews was undertaken with seven midwives who work at a regional hospital birth centre to ascertain their views as to how they construct their midwifery role while working in a caseload model of care. Findings: The results showed that caseload midwifery care enabled the midwives to practice autonomously within hospital policies and guidelines for birth centre midwifery practice and that they did not feel too restricted in regards to the eligibility of women who could give birth at the centre. Work relationships were found to be a key component in being able to construct their birth centre midwifery role. The midwives valued the flexibility that came with working in supportive partnerships with many feeling this enabled them to achieve a good work–life balance. Conclusion: The research contributes to the current body of knowledge surrounding working in a caseload model of care as it shows how the birth centre midwives construct their midwifery role. It provides information for development and improvement of these models of care to ensure that sustainability and quality of care is provided to women and their families.