Traumatic Childbirth from the Perspective of the Healthcare Professional

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPosterResearch

Abstract

Background
Even though midwifery and obstetrics are usually associated with joyous events, they entail rare cases of the midwife or doctor being involved in so-called traumatic birth incidents, where the baby is born with severe and possibly fatal injuries related to the birth. When such complications arise in the delivery room, the incident is assessed in order to clarify whether the adverse event could have been avoided. The subsequent management of employee reactions mainly regards organizational practice, where the most important question is what lessons can be learned from the incidents. While the organization has had a significantly increased focus on patient safety over the past decade, the individual midwife’s and doctor's professional and personal reactions and management of a traumatic childbirth have not been equally considered. The lack of research within this field is in stark contrast with studies showing that both midwives and doctors have a high incidence of work-related mental health problems, such as depression, burn-out and stress. This poses a problem, not only to the employees, but also to the patients, as emerging research has shown that the emotional state of the health care professionals can influence their clinical performance and impact patient safety.

The overall purpose of this study is to investigate how midwives and obstetric doctors experience and cope with involvement in traumatic childbirths, hence contributing to a more qualified management of the af-termath of such incidents.

Methods
The study has a mixed methods approach consisting of a quantitative questionnaire survey and a qualitative interview study, thus allowing a descriptive as well as an exploratory dimension.

Questionnaire
A questionnaire will be sent to all midwives and obstetric consultant and trainees in Denmark, adding up to a total of 2400. The overall aim of the survey is to identify the proportion of midwives and obstetricians who have been involved in one or more traumatic childbirths. Subsequently the aim is to investigate the correlation between traumatic childbirths and work-related mental health problems among midwives and obstetricians and finally to explore the coping strategies of the midwives and obstetricians related to their personal values, faith and convictions.

Qualitative interviews
The qualitative part of the study will consist of 16-20 individual semi-structured interviews, equally distributed between midwives and doctors, which will provide a deeper understanding and contextualization than the questionnaire allows.

Expected results
This project will in a Danish context contribute to scientific knowledge in a field that previously has not been investigated. Knowledge about how midwives and obstetricians experience being involved in traumatic childbirths will serve to improve the management of the aftermath of the traumatic events from the perspective of the healthcare professionals. Such improvements could be important in the effort to prevent work-related mental health problems amongst midwives and doctors. In addition, the results will be of interest in an increased safety culture, acknowledging that the emotional state of the health care profes-sionals has an impact on patient safety.
Translated title of the contributionTraumatiske fødselsforløb fra den sundhedsprofessionelles perspektiv
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event2nd. Nordic Conference on Patient Safety and Quality of Care - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 6. Mar 20127. Mar 2012

Conference

Conference2nd. Nordic Conference on Patient Safety and Quality of Care
Country/TerritoryDenmark
CityCopenhagen
Period06/03/201207/03/2012

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