INTRODUCTION There is limited evidence of the effect and impact on midwives of being involved or witnessing traumatic work-related events. We categorised midwives’ selfreported traumatic work-related events and responses to an event and explored the impact on the midwives’ professional and personal life.
METHODS A sequential explanatory mixed-methods study, consisting of a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews for midwives who practised or who had practised in the Netherlands or Flanders.
RESULTS In total, 106 questionnaires were completed. We categorised various workrelated traumatic events: witnessing birth trauma/complications (34%), death (28.3%), (mis)management of care (19.8%), events related to the perceived social norm of maternity services’ practitioners (9.5%), events related to environmental and contextual issues (5.6%) and to (mis)communication (2.8%). Sharing the experience with colleagues, family and friends, a supervisor or the woman involved in the event, was the most common response. In all, 74.5% of the participants still experienced the influence of work-related events in day-to-day practice and 37.5% still experienced the effects in their personal life. The scores of three participants (3.2%) indicated the likelihood of post-traumatic stress. Twenty-four interviews were conducted. Four themes emerged from the content analysis: 1) Timeline, 2) Drawing up the balance of relations with others, 3) Fretting and worrying, and 4) Lessons learned.
CONCLUSIONS Various work-related traumatic events can impact on midwives’ professional and/or personal life. Although not all midwives reported experiencing (lasting) effects of the events, the impact was sometimes far-reaching. Therefore, midwives’ experiences and impact of work-related traumatic events cannot be ignored in midwifery practice, education and in supervision or mentoring.
Fontein-Kuipers, Y., Duivis, H., Schamper, V., Schmitz, V., Stam, A., & Koster, D. (2018). Reports of work-related traumatic events: a mixed-methods study. European Journal of Midwifery, 2, https://doi.org/10.18332/ejm/100611