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How Do Midwives View Their Professional Autonomy, Now and in Future?

Vermeulen, J, Fobelets, M, Fleming, V, Luyben, A, Stas, L and Buyl, R (2023) How Do Midwives View Their Professional Autonomy, Now and in Future? Healthcare, 11 (12). ISSN 2227-9032

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Background: Internationally, midwives’ professional autonomy is being challenged, resulting in their inability to practice to their full scope of practice. This situation contrasts with the increasing international calls for strengthening the midwifery profession. The aim of this study therefore is to explore Belgian midwives’ views on their current and future autonomy. Methods: An online survey among Belgian midwives was performed. Data were collected and analyzed using a quantitative approach, while quotes from respondents were used to contextualize the quantitative data. Results: Three hundred and twelve midwives from different regions and professional settings in Belgium completed the questionnaire. Eighty-five percentage of respondents believe that they are mostly or completely autonomous. Brussels’ midwives feel the most autonomous, while those in Wallonia feel the least. Primary care midwives feel more autonomous than hospital-based midwives. Older midwives and primary care midwives feel less recognized and respected by other professionals in maternity care. The majority of our respondents believe that in future midwives should be able to work more autonomously in constructive collaboration with other professionals. Conclusion: While Belgian midwives generally rated their own professional autonomy as high, a significant majority of respondents desire more autonomy in future. In addition, our respondents want to be recognized and respected by society and other health professionals in maternity care. It is recommended to prioritize efforts in enhancing midwives’ autonomy, while also addressing the need for increased recognition and respect from society and other maternity care professionals.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: autonomy; hospital-based practice; maternity care; midwife-led care; midwifery; midwifery autonomy; midwives; primary care; professionalization; sexual and reproductive health
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: MDPI
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 08 May 2024 11:45
Last Modified: 08 May 2024 11:45
DOI or ID number: 10.3390/healthcare11121800
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23196
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