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Title: Women's lived experience of compassionate midwifery
Author: Menage, D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7968 8302
Awarding Body: Coventry University
Current Institution: Coventry University
Date of Award: 2018
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Background: Compassion is held up as an important aspect of quality healthcare. In the UK this has facilitated considerable discussion, analysis and research into compassion. However, there has been a dearth of research into compassion related to midwifery care. This thesis addresses that omission by analysing what is meant by compassionate midwifery and by examining women's lived experience of receiving compassion from midwives. Methods: An evolutionary concept analysis sought to ascertain the meaning of compassionate midwifery. A qualitative study was conducted with seventeen women participants who identified themselves as having received compassionate midwifery. Women's rich accounts of their care were analysed using the principles of Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Study Findings: Six major themes were identified. Women participants set their experiences of compassion from midwives within the context of their individual Need for Compassion, indicating that compassion was a response to their suffering during pregnancy, birth or the postnatal period. Women's need for compassion related to their anxiety, vulnerability, physical or emotional pain, problems, complications and the transition to motherhood. Women experienced compassion through a sense of the midwife really Being With them and this was something that women very quickly recognised in midwives. Compassion was also experienced through a sense of being in Relationship with the midwife and when midwives acted in ways that increased women's feelings of Empowerment. Women identified midwives' ability to provide compassionate care despite having to Balance conflicting demands, contradictions and paradoxes in their work. Compassionate midwifery Made a Difference to women by making them feel safer and more able to cope. Conclusions: Compassionate midwifery was easily identified by women participants as an effective intervention for relieving their suffering and therefore must be acknowledged as an essential feature of maternity care. A dynamic model of Compassionate Midwifery in Balance is proposed based on the study findings, depicting the key features of compassionate midwifery. The findings provide a new and valuable resource on compassion in midwifery which is both research based and informed by women service users. This should now be utilised to inform practice, education and policy. Further research should explore the lived experience of compassion for women from different cultures and those living in different circumstances. The Model of Compassionate Midwifery in Balance highlights the need to also consider midwives' experiences of compassionate midwifery and future studies are needed to understand more about how midwives' manage to balance and maintain compassionate care.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available