An investigation into Danish midwives’ perception of their own professional identity and the care they provide to women.

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktFormidling


Background: The last decade has introduced many changes in maternity care in Denmark. These changes may affect the professional identity, the development of the midwifery profession and education programme for midwives. Thus, knowledge about construction of professional identity is needed in the midwifery profession.

Objective: To investigate Danish midwives’ construction and perception of their own professional identity and the care they provide to women.

Method: An exploratory qualitative method was used. Five focus group/mini group interviews were performed. A purposeful sampling of 16 midwives was made. The analysis was conducted within the framework of qualitative content analysis.

Results: Three main categories with sub-categories were developed: Midwives in a bio-medical world; The feeling of being a midwife; and Being with women. This study showed that the midwives constructed their identity through the relationship with the woman, but also through actions that would justify their role in the health care system. A strong conviction about their own expertise and abilities supported midwives in justifying their role but at the same time they needed acknowledgment from other professionals in the health care system. It both reinforced their identity but also resulted in frustrations when working according to guidelines and within a bio-medical paradigm.

Conclusion: The professional identity of Danish midwives was affected by factors at institutional, individual and relational level. The identity was deeply rooted in the care for and relationship with women and in the historic development of the midwifery profession being skilled, autonomous experts on pregnancy and birth. The midwives needed acknowledgement from other professionals to feel their identity and profession having a place in the maternity system. The identity was affected positively and negatively by working in institutions where a bio-medical paradigm was prominent.

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StatusUdgivet - 2016
BegivenhedEMA 5th educational conference: Midwifery education for the 21st century - innovations in education, practice and regulation - London, London, Storbritannien
Varighed: 2 dec. 20163 dec. 2016
Konferencens nummer: 5


KonferenceEMA 5th educational conference


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