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Building resilience: the way forward

02 March 2016
2 min read
Volume 24 · Issue 3

We are all aware that there are many forthcoming changes in midwifery recommended in government policies (Dunkley-Bent, 2016). So how do midwives feel about these, and how might they cope with further changes within the profession? There were some lively debates at the recent BJM conference, attended by a cross-section of midwives, from newly qualified to professors and government advisors. These discussions illustrated the continued enthusiasm and motivation that midwives have to drive the profession forward and ensure high standards. Proposed changes to supervision were also highlighted, raising the notion of experienced midwives acting as role models and clinical supervisors to protect the public through supporting and facilitating sound midwifery practice. Despite the uncertainty around these changes to statutory supervision, the audience responded positively to the fact that supervisors might be developed as leaders rather than tied up in investigatory processes.

Are future midwives likely to be different? Dunkley-Bent (2016) suggests supervision can help improve confidence, self-efficacy and stress management, leading to midwives who are compassionate, competent and resilient. Resilience is something we have heard a great deal about recently. Given increased workloads, staff shortages and the emotionally demanding role of the midwife, greater resilience could help achieve a healthy workforce who are not suffering from burnout. This, in turn, could help address the low morale and stress reported by midwives (Midwifery 2020, 2010). Lost days through sickness and absence are a real issue in the NHS, with 27.3 million days lost due to workplace illness and injury in 2014–15 (Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2015).

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