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Promoting evidence-based practice and raising concerns: considerations for the newly-qualified midwife

02 July 2019
11 min read
Volume 27 · Issue 7

Abstract

Although newly-qualified midwives have achieved the professional standards required to become autonomous practitioners, many doubt their capabilities and decision-making skills, often comparing their limited clinical experience to that of senior midwives. As a result, it may prove challenging to ensure that evidence-based practice and the professional standards are upheld when confronted with resistance to change in practice. This article will discuss these challenges for the newly-qualified midwife, exploring the promotion of evidence-based practice in relation to providing breastfeeding support and advice; dealing with poor professional practice in relation to supporting mothers to breastfeed; and the stigmatised issue of whistle-blowing.

Newly-qualified midwives are expected to be safe, competent practitioners and are responsible for providing high standards of care for women and babies (Phelan et al, 2014); however, for many midwives it can be a particularly vulnerable point in their career. Although newly-qualified midwives have achieved the professional standards required to become autonomous practitioners (Reynolds et al, 2014), many doubt their capabilities and decision-making skills, often comparing their limited clinical experience to that of senior midwives (Wain, 2017). As a result, it may prove challenging to ensure that evidence-based practice and the professional standards promoted by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2018a) are upheld when confronted with attitudes resistant to change in practice.

This article will discuss these challenges for the newly-qualified midwife. This was motivated by an experience in clinical practice that caused one midwife, Ruth*, who at the time was on the verge of qualification, to consider the challenges of transitioning to registrant status. The article will explore the promotion of evidence-based practice when providing breastfeeding support and advice; dealing with poor professional practice; and the stigmatised issue of whistle-blowing.

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