Working relationships between obstetric care staff and their managers: a critical incident analysis

Chipeta, E., Bradley, S., Chimwaza-Manda, W. & McAuliffe, E. (2016). Working relationships between obstetric care staff and their managers: a critical incident analysis. BMC Health Services Research, 16, p. 441. doi: 10.1186/s12913-016-1694-x

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Abstract

Background
Malawi continues to experience critical shortages of key health technical cadres that can adequately respond to Malawi’s disease burden. Difficult working conditions contribute to low morale and frustration among health care workers. We aimed to understand how obstetric care staff perceive their working relationships with managers.

Methods
A qualitative exploratory study was conducted in health facilities in Malawi between October and December 2008. Critical Incident Analysis interviews were done in government district hospitals, faith-based health facilities, and a sample of health centres’ providing emergency obstetric care. A total of 84 service providers were interviewed. Data were analyzed using NVivo 8 software.

Results
Poor leadership styles affected working relationships between obstetric care staff and their managers. Main concerns were managers’ lack of support for staff welfare and staff performance, lack of mentorship for new staff and junior colleagues, as well as inadequate supportive supervision. All this led to frustrations, diminished motivation, lack of interest in their job and withdrawal from work, including staff seriously considering leaving their post.

Conclusions
Positive working relationships between obstetric care staff and their managers are essential for promoting staff motivation and positive work performance. However, this study revealed that staff were demotivated and undermined by transactional leadership styles and behavior, evidenced by management by exception and lack of feedback or recognition. A shift to transformational leadership in nurse-manager relationships is essential to establish good working relationships with staff. Improved providers’ job satisfaction and staff retentionare crucial to the provision of high quality care and will also ensure efficiency in health care delivery in Malawi.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Working relationships, Leadership, Job satisfaction, Staff motivation, Work performance
Subjects: R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: School of Health Sciences
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/15242

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