ASK a Midwife: A Qualitative Study Protocol

Stone, Nancy I., Thomson, Gillian orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3392-8182 and Tegethoff, Dorothea (2021) ASK a Midwife: A Qualitative Study Protocol. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 20 .

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Midwife-led institutions, also called free-standing birth centres, offer birth assistance to women at low risk for complications. Free-standing birth centres, because they are the institutions that provide low intervention birth assistance, also present the possibility to conduct research on the skills and knowledge that are necessary to provide safe care for women who are at low risk for complications desiring an out-of-hospital birth. The aim of this study is to reveal the skills and knowledge necessary to provide care at low intervention births in free-standing birth centres in Germany for midwives post-certification. The theoretical and methodological standpoint of this study is hermeneutic phenomenology. In-depth qualitative methods will be used that are particularly sensitive to the research participants and their social context and allow for complexity, detail and context. The research sites are free-standing birth centres in Germany. Three strands of data will be collected. Each birth centre has its own quality management handbook. From this handbook, the chapter concerning the induction of new midwives will be analysed. Small focus groups will be held in ten birth centres throughout Germany; and data will be collected from 10 to 20 midwives during their induction period at the birth centre. The data collection methods will be open-ended interviews, data capture, journaling and non-participant observation with the new midwives. In-depth data analysis will reveal midwives’ experiences of skill acquisition in free-standing birth centres. The findings will be used to produce key recommendations for training midwives to work in birth centres.

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