Newly-graduated midwives transcending barriers: A grounded theory study
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Background: Midwifery has developed its own philosophy to formalise its unique identity as a profession. Newly-graduated midwives are taught, and ideally embrace, this philosophy during their education. However, embarking in their career within a predominantly institutionalised and the medically focused health-care model may challenge this application. Question and aim: The research question guiding this study was as follows: ‘How do newly graduated midwives deal with applying the philosophy of midwifery in their first six months of practice?’ The aim was to generate a grounded theory around this social process. Method: This Western Australian grounded theory study is conceptualised within the social theory of symbolic interactionism. Data were collected by means of in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 11 recent midwifery graduates. Participant and interviewer's journals provided supplementary data. The ‘constant comparison’ approach was used for data analysis. Theory generated: The substantive theory of transcending barriers was generated. Three stages in transcending barriers were identified: Addressing personal attributes, Understanding the ‘bigger picture’, and finally, ‘Evaluating, planning and acting’ to provide woman-centred care. An overview of these three stages provides the focus of this article. Conclusion: The theory of transcending barriers provides a new perspective on how newly-graduated midwives deal with applying the philosophy of midwifery in their first six months of practice. A number of implications for pre and post registration midwifery education and policy development are suggested, as well as recommendations for future research.
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