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An ethnographic study of the philosophy, culture and practices within an urban freestanding midwifery unit

Rocca-Ihenacho, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-8161-3938 (2023). An ethnographic study of the philosophy, culture and practices within an urban freestanding midwifery unit. Practising Midwife, 26(11), pp. 26-30. doi: 10.55975/dqcr5128


Service users and providers deserve to engage with healthcare systems that are functional, evidence-based and engender positive experiences. Current and recurrent maternity scandals urge us to explore the key characteristics of well-performing services as well as those which fail. Theory generation is important for the progress of maternity care, safety improvement, and enhancing organisational culture. This ethnographic study explored the key characteristics of a well-functioning FMU and also embedded a systematic review of evidence on MUs in high-income settings, to create logic models.

Background and rationale
Research evidence suggests that midwifery units (MUs) are associated with optimal clinical outcomes, experiences and cost-effectiveness. On the basis of this, NICE guideline G190, provided clear recommendations about the birthplace information to be provided to healthy women and birthing people eligible for midwife-led care birth settings. The NICE Quality Standards6 also recommend commissioners and providers to ensure that the four birth settings (home, AMU, FMU and OU) are made available to service users.

However, to date there is a knowledge gap regarding key elements in midwifery pracVce, environment, and organisaVon of care, which may potenVally affect the care outcomes in MUs as well as staff job saVsfacVon and wellbeing. This ethnographic study aimed at contribuVng to knowledge and theory-generaVon in the field of midwifery-led birth seZngs and parVcularly midwifery units.

The aim of this study was to shed light on philosophy, organisaVonal culture and pracVces within a FMU model of care, by highlighVng the key landmarks, which describe wellfuncVoning FMUs.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright, 2023, Practising Midwife.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
SWORD Depositor:
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