Resilience in Midwifery
Dr Eman Alshawish
Midwifery is emotionally demanding work. There is growing evidence that many midwives experience considerable stress, which at times may even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder and burnout. Midwives often work in challenging situations, with possible negative effects on their wellbeing, morale and retention. This will inevitably impact on how they care for women. However, not all midwives respond negatively to adversity. Some not only survive, but thrive, even in very challenging situations. They describe sustained passion for their work, demonstrating resilience: the ability to respond positively and consistently to adversity.
The aim of this paper is to investigate midwifery resilience, aimed to better understand the experiences of midwives who thrive at work despite adversity and know the main factor that might help to build resilience.
Resilience in Midwifery is a new topic so this review included only a two recent article. This review paper will explore some of these issues, drawing on findings from recent studies of professional resilience in UK midwifery and Australia midwifery.
Four major themes were identified in the findings: Challenges to resilience; Reactive, day to day strategies for managing and coping; Self-awareness and self-identity; and Proactive strategies for building and investing in resilience.
Key factors in building resilience were ‘knowing oneself’, developing emotional awareness and having a strong sense of professional identity. The recommendations to build the midwifery resilience might include: midwifery supervision should include discussions of resilient approaches to adversity, positive mood changers and how to care for the self; pre-registration midwifery education includes participative sessions aimed at discussing the challenges of practice and enhancing emotional awareness of self and others; and reflective sessions in pre-registration midwifery education should include consideration of personal emotions, resilient approaches to adversity and how to care for the self, as well as the more usual focus on clinical practice; more attention be paid to ‘critical moments’ in a midwife’s career, when additional support and mentoring could be provided.