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How professional quality of life is influenced by perceptions of empowerment in midwives

02 February 2022
19 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 2

Abstract

Introduction

Professional quality of life is affected by various factors, such as people's perception of professional empowerment. This study aimed to investigate the role of midwives' personal perception of empowerment in their professional quality of life.

Methods

This cross-sectional study was conducted with 380 midwives providing maternal and neonatal care services across five provinces of Iran. Data were collected using virtual platforms and analysed using descriptive and analytical tests including regression analysis.

Results

The mean professional quality of life was high (59.7%) in most participants. Midwives' personal perception of empowerment alone predicted 17% of professional quality of life.

Conclusions

Given midwives' role in maintaining and improving maternal and neonatal outcomes, it is important to devise policies and plans to enhance midwives' perception of empowerment, especially with regards to autonomous practice and management.

Providing high-quality midwifery services is one of the most important strategies for improving maternal health. Research has shown that midwives have an important role in providing cost-effective maternal-neonatal care (Renfrew et al, 2014). The factors affecting midwives' decision to continue providing midwifery services or leave their job include having a desirable professional quality of life, feeling supported by their managers, having access to sufficient resources and experiencing a sense of empowerment and control over their work (Sullivan et al, 2011).

Professional quality of life is a multidimensional concept that is influenced by personnel's perception of their work and satisfaction with resources and activities in the workplace (Hesam et al, 2012; Zarei et al, 2016). This concept is the result of an organisation's employees' perception of the psychological and physical conditions of their workplace and their attitude toward their professional life. Professional quality of life involves the concepts of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue (Stamm, 2010). Compassion satisfaction means feeling happy about caring for others and includes the emergence of positive aspects and a feeling of happiness that make a person enjoy helping others when performing their professional duties (Stamm, 2005). Meanwhile, compassion fatigue is caused by occupational hazards in people who frequently witness other people's suffering, pain and physical and psychological harm and is referred to as the ‘cost of medical care’ (Bush, 2009; Matthews et al, 2009). Burnout is a long-term response to occupational stressors in a non-supportive organisational atmosphere that leads to physical, mental and emotional fatigue. Secondary traumatic stress refers to sudden signs in healthcare providers following the incidence of a traumatic event for a patient, such as sadness, anger, despair, feeling futile, apathy towards the profession, reduced profitability and nightmares.

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