Collaboration of midwives in primary care midwifery practices with other maternity care providers
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BACKGROUND: Inter-professional collaboration is considered essential in effective maternity care. National projects are being undertaken to enhance inter-professional relationships and improve communication between all maternity care providers in order to improve the quality of maternity care in the Netherlands. However, little is known about primary care midwives' satisfaction with collaboration with other maternity care providers, such as general practitioners, maternity care assistance organisations (MCAO), maternity care assistants (MCA), obstetricians, clinical midwives and paediatricians. More insight is needed into the professional working relations of primary care midwives in the Netherlands before major changes are made OBJECTIVE: To assess how satisfied primary care midwives are with collaboration with other maternity care providers and to assess the relationship between their 'satisfaction with collaboration' and personal and work-related characteristics of the midwives, their attitudes towards their work and collaboration characteristics (accessibility). The aim of this study was to provide insight into the professional working relations of primary care midwives in the Netherlands. METHODS: Our descriptive cross-sectional study is part of the DELIVER study. Ninety nine midwives completed a written questionnaire in May 2010. A Friedman ANOVA test assessed differences in satisfaction with collaboration with six groups of maternity care providers. Bivariate analyses were carried out to assess the relationship between satisfaction with collaboration and personal and work-related characteristics of the midwives, their attitudes towards their work and collaboration characteristics. RESULTS: Satisfaction experienced by primary care midwives when collaborating with the different maternity care providers varies within and between primary and secondary/tertiary care. Interactions with non-physicians (clinical midwives and MCA(O)) are ranked consistently higher on satisfaction compared with interactions with physicians (GPs, obstetricians and paediatricians). Midwives with more work experience were more satisfied with their collaboration with GPs. Midwives from the southern region of the Netherlands were more satisfied with collaboration with GPs and obstetricians. Compared to the urban areas, in the rural or mixed areas the midwives were more satisfied regarding their collaboration with MCA(O)s and clinical midwives. Midwives from non-Dutch origin were less satisfied with the collaboration with paediatricians. No relations were found between the overall mean satisfaction of collaboration and work-related and personal characteristics and attitude towards work. CONCLUSIONS: Inter-professionals relations in maternity care in the Netherlands can be enhanced, especially the primary care midwives' interactions with physicians and with maternity care providers in the northern and central part of the Netherlands, and in urban areas. Future exploratory or deductive research may provide additional insight in the collaborative practice in everyday work setting.
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