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Developing the Midwifery Unit Self-Assessment (MUSA) Framework: a mixed methods study in six European midwifery units

Yuill, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-3918-5917, Kerauden, S., Murphy, R. , Uddin, N. ORCID: 0000-0003-0518-7989 & Rocca-Ihenacho, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-8161-3938 (2023). Developing the Midwifery Unit Self-Assessment (MUSA) Framework: a mixed methods study in six European midwifery units. Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, 35, article number 100819. doi: 10.1016/j.srhc.2023.100819


Evidence indicates that midwifery units are associated with improved health outcomes and experiences; however, there are barriers to their development and scale-up. Guidelines are crucial to their implementation, ensuring that they are developed and integrated sustainably and safely. This study aimed to evaluate and explore the use of a self-assessment tool and improvement process for midwifery units in Europe.

A mixed methods study was conducted with six midwifery units located in Europe. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analysed concurrently, and each informed the other, making the approach both interactive and iterative. The six midwifery units were invited to complete the self-assessment tool, the responses of which were analysed descriptively, and implement an improvement process into practice. Interviews were conducted with midwives using the tool and analysed thematically.

Findings indicate benefits and potential feasibility of an improvement process for midwifery units, and suggest that the self-assessment tool is a generative and reflexive practice for midwives. However, issues were identified around limitations of the tool, structural barriers and professional autonomy. Midwifery units require a framework to guide and support their implementation, improvement and scale-up.

Results highlight the need for more consideration of how macro-level barriers, encompassing social, legal and political dimensions of maternity care, factor locally in the implementation and scale-up of midwifery units. More research is needed to evaluate the feasibility and outcomes of implementing a self-assessment and improvement framework in midwifery units across Europe.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is available under the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND license and permits non-commercial use of the work as published, without adaptation or alteration provided the work is fully attributed.
Publisher Keywords: Midwifery units, Maternity services, Mixed methods, Europe, United Kingdom
Subjects: R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
SWORD Depositor:
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