Introduction and Aim
Research investigating graduate midwives' transition to practice has identified it
as stressful, with a crucial contributor to that stress being the difficulty newly
qualified practitioners have with applying their woman-centred midwifery philosophy
in contexts where the biomedical model of maternity care is dominant (Cummins et al.,
2017). The potential consequence of being unable to practice in accordance with one's
beliefs and values is that practitioners become disheartened, potentially traumatised,
and choose to leave the profession. This has significant implications for midwifery
education, the midwifery workforce, and the outcomes of those who are cared for in
The purpose of this study is to investigate and understand how midwifery practice
environments influence newly qualified midwives’ practice philosophy, whether their
intention to remain in the profession changes, and how prepared for practice they
feel from their pre-registration training.
In this longitudinal mixed methods study, graduating midwifery students will be invited
to complete a survey every six months for five years, or until they decide to leave
the profession within the five-year period. Participants will also be invited to annual
focus groups at which the findings from the previous year will be presented to them
for their review and comment.
Early insights into graduating students' midwifery philosophies, their views about
their preparedness for practice, and aims for their graduate year will be presented.
This study highlights the impact of the practice environment on graduate midwives'
practice philosophy and by extension, provides valuable insights for midwifery education
providers and maternity care facilities. The data suggests that if we are to have
a sustainable, committed midwifery workforce, we need to find ways to support new
midwives to practice in accordance with their values.