As my main research interests are firmly rooted within supporting a positive staff experience for healthcare workers, especially midwives in work-related psychological distress, I am always looking for new opportunities to share knowledge with others in this area. …The Global Alliance for Nursing and Midwifery (GANM) is a joint project sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Nursing Knowledge, Information Management & Sharing at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. This blog post provides an overview of a webinar session hosted by GANM entitled “Mindfulness and Self-Care in Midwifery: Review of Current Evidence and Guided Mindfulness Practice.”
For a preliminary introduction to this topic – check out an earlier blog post on this topic entitled “Midwife Burnout: A Brief Summary“.
Erin Wright, DNP, CNM, APRN-BC, led the conversation…Participants were diverse, and originated from Canada, Peru, US (Baltimore, Urbana, Birmingham, Atlanta, Buffalo), Ireland, UK (Coventry University and School of Healthcare Sciences Cardiff), Brazil, Montserrat, and Trinidad.
The full webinar can be accessed here.
Much of the research covered, has also been captured within my earlier narrative review: Pezaro, Sally, et al. “‘Midwives Overboard!’Inside their hearts are breaking, their makeup may be flaking but their smile still stays on.” Women and Birth 29.3 (2016): e59-e66.
However, there were some new and interesting comparisons made with more recent research here…
“Four common themes have been identified that traverse the different models of care. The NZ study provides insight into how case load midwifery can be sustainable enabling long term sustainability. The UK study highlights healthy resilient practices that enable practice. What remains uncertain is how models of care enable or disable sustainable long term practice and nurture healthy resilient behaviours within the different models of care”.
“The notion of resilience in midwifery as the panacea to resolve current concerns may need rethinking as the notion may be interpreted as expecting midwives ‘to toughen up’ in a working setting that is socially, economically and culturally challenging.”
So we are now much enlightened as to how and why midwives are experiencing distress, we also have some insights into how they try to cope (or not)…and where this distress may affect maternity services…but what we are yet to learn, is what may be most effective in supporting midwives in work-related psychological distress…although a few clues are emerging….
Mindfulness is coming forward as a potential tool of support..stress management, education and clinical supervision may also be of benefit to midwives in distress…But how, why and how much is not yet clear.
After exploring the literature in relation to psychological distress in midwifery populations, we were all invited to join in some mindfulness practice..What is mindfulness?
R—Recognize What’s Going On
A—Allowing: Taking a Life-Giving Pause
I—Investigating with Kindness
N—Natural Loving Awareness
Recommended further reading
- Jon Kabat Zinn
- Elisha Goldstein
- Tara Brach
- Sharon Salzberg
- A Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Workbook (Goldstein and Stahl)
- Everyday Catastrophe Living (Jon Kabat Zinn)
- Wherever you go there you are (Jon Kabat Zinn)
- Mindfulness for Beginners (Jon Kabat Zinn)
- Real Happiness (Sharon Salzberg)
- The Mindful Nurse (Carmel Sheridan)
For more mindfulness exercises, visit the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center.
Thanks for a very insightful and informative session!
Until next time…Look after yourselves & each other 🦄💫🎓