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The case for developing an online intervention to support midwives in work-related psychological distress

02 November 2016
Volume 24 · Issue 11



Midwives experience episodes of work-related psychological distress owing to the emotionally difficult and traumatic work environments they endure. There is a need to develop interventions to effectively support midwives, as the wellbeing of midwives can be directly correlated with the quality and safety of maternity care.


This project aims to make the case for the development of an online support intervention, designed to effectively support midwives in distress.


Literature reviews were conducted, and midwives and other subject experts were recruited to participate in a Delphi study via a research blog.


Following literature reviews and a structured consultation with 66 participants, it was found that the development of an online intervention designed to support midwives with work-related psychological distress should prioritise confidentiality and anonymity, along with 24-hour mobile access and a range of other components.


This research makes the case for the development of an online intervention designed to support midwives in work-related psychological distress. The author invites all midwives to support and follow ongoing research in this area via The Academic Midwife page on Facebook.

Midwives can experience both organisational and occupational sources of work-related psychological distress, which can continue to affect them throughout their professional journey (Leinweber and Rowe, 2010; Rice and Warland, 2013; Leinweber et al, 2016; Sheen et al, 2016). In England, the recent National Maternity Review (2016) has highlighted that midwives are more likely to report feeling pressured at work than other NHS staff. This is significant because poor staff health and the disaffection and disengagement from work is intrinsically linked with poorer patient outcomes, increased infection rates, higher mortality rates and an increase in medical errors (Laschinger and Leiter, 2006; Boorman, 2009; West and Dawson, 2012; Francis, 2013; Royal College of Physicians, 2015).

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