Organisational culture and routine midwifery practice on labour ward: implications for mother-baby contact

Sheridan, V (2010) Organisational culture and routine midwifery practice on labour ward: implications for mother-baby contact. Evidence Based Midwifery, 8(3), pp. 76-84. ISSN (print) 1479-4489

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This study examines labour ward culture on two British labour wards, in terms of mother-baby contact and breastfeeding, which has not been empirically researched in the UK since 1985 (Garforth & Garcia 1989). Aims: to investigate the organisational culture; examine mothers’ beliefs and experiences; and midwives’ knowledge, beliefs and practices. Objectives: To compare organisational cultures; identify if midwifery practice is evidence based and factors which facilitate or detract from it; identify mothers’ preferences, beliefs and levels of satisfaction. Study Design: Ethnography with case study and diagnostic analysis also utilised. Methods: observation and interviews: purposive sample of mothers (n = 50) and midwives (n = 51); Results: Mother-baby contact after birth is usually interrupted for completion of tasks and some babies have multiple contact episodes, which has not been previously described in the literature. Completion of routine tasks for transfer of mothers and babies to postnatal ward takes precedence, because of organisational demands and insufficient resources. However, most mothers expressed feeling satisfied with contact achieved. Conclusion: Findings of the study have contributed new insights and knowledge of labour ward culture. It is not conducive to uninterrupted mother-baby contact and is not evidence-based. Recommendations: The development of a learning culture and clinical leadership to promote evidence-based practice and woman-centred care is recommended. The unique period after birth should not be disturbed, to prioritise routine tasks.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Organisational culture, mother-baby contact, skin-to-skin contact, labour ward, routine practice.
Research Area: Nursing and midwifery
Health services research
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences (until 2013)
Depositing User: Valerie Sheridan
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2010 16:40
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2010 16:40

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