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Defining midwifery autonomy in Belgium: Consensus of a modified Delphi study

Vermeulen, J, Buyl, R, Luyben, A, Fleming, V and Fobelets, M (2022) Defining midwifery autonomy in Belgium: Consensus of a modified Delphi study. Journal of Advanced Nursing. ISSN 0309-2402

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Aims: Although there is substantial literature on autonomy of midwifery, the concept remains vague, and what it exactly constitutes is little clear. Attempts to define this have been carried out, but did not result in a communal understanding. The aim of this study therefore was to define a consistent definition of midwifery autonomy in Belgium.
Design: A modified Delphi survey with content experts.
Methods: Critical components of the available definitions on midwifery autonomy were retrieved from the literature, and translated into Dutch and French. An online Delphi panel of content expert assessed components of autonomy in midwifery on clarity and relevance between June and October 2021. From the validated components, a preliminary consolidated definition was generated, which was validated in a final Delphi round.
Results: After round one, content experts (n = 27) evaluated 10 out of 17 components to be clear and relevant. Two components were judged inappropriate and therefore removed. After further adaptation four additional components were identified appropriate after the second round, and one component after a third Delphi round. Experts' suggestions for improving the clarity and relevance were taken into account. Finally, experts assessed the preliminary definition. After minor modifications the definition of midwifery autonomy in Belgium was confirmed valid.
Conclusion: We established a communal definition of midwifery autonomy in Belgium, the creation of such a definition results in a joint understanding of the concept of midwifery autonomy.
Impact: If midwives internationally want to successfully achieve autonomy, a clear understanding of the concept of midwifery autonomy is needed. The consensus definition of midwifery autonomy in Belgium comprises 15 components related to midwives' work content, professionalism and relationship with others. Our definition of midwifery autonomy has the potential to encourage an international dialogue, grounded in a common understanding of autonomy, enabling stakeholders in maternity care to strengthen professional midwifery autonomy.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Vermeulen, J., Buyl, R., Luyben, A., Fleming, V. & Fobelets, M. (2022). Defining midwifery autonomy in Belgium: Consensus of a modified Delphi study. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 00, 1– 12. https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.15209, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.15209. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1110 Nursing
Subjects: R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Divisions: Nursing & Allied Health
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2022 10:46
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2023 00:50
DOI or ID number: 10.1111/jan.15209
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16616
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