Newly Qualified Midwives (NQMs) are expected to perform autonomously and accountably immediately after graduation.
NQMs experience their professional initiation as stressful, which may have adverse consequences for their professional performance and the quality of their care.
Therefore, we aim to identify the underlying aspects (work and personal-characteristics) related to well-being and performance of NQMs, by using the Job-Demands Resources model as theoretical framework. With the obtained results, we pave the way for interventions that aim to increase NQMs’ well-being and performance. The underlying assumption is that positive professional wellbeing of NQMs leads to high quality midwifery care.
The main aim of this research is to identify job demands, job resources and personal resources, which affects the professional wellbeing and performance of Dutch NQMs. For this study, the theoretical Job-Demands-Resources (JD-R) model will be used (on the next page). The theory about job demands and resources will be used to develop a support programme to improve the professional initiation of NQMs, to become a confident and competent professional. The underlying assumption is that by improving NQMs’ professional wellbeing, the quality of provided care will be positively influenced and unnecessary attrition of midwives from their job will be prevented.
- What are perceived job demands, job resources and personal resources of Dutch NQMs ‘ working in primary care and secundary care?
- What are the determinants of wellbeing: burnout and work-engagement of Dutch NQMs and are these levels associated with the number of years worked since graduation?
- What are characteristics and outcomes of existing support programs for NQMs?
- What are feasible components of a programme to support Dutch NQMs and how can this programme be implemented in the Dutch maternity care system?
This study will contribute to the knowledge on determinants of the quality of midwifery care provided by NQMs and will lead to a specification of the JD-R model for NQMs. This model is often used to study wellbeing and stress among professionals.18 Studies with the JD-R model on midwives have not yet been carried out. Future NQMs will profit from this research through improved support during their initial professionalization, which will not only positively affect their professional wellbeing but also the quality of care they provide to pregnant women and their babies.
Conclusions from our first study:
Dutch NQMs’ first years in primary midwifery care are perceived as highly demanding. In primary care, NQMs usually work as locum midwives, self-employed and in different practices. Working in different practices requires not only working with different client populations and autonomous decision-making, but also requires adaptation to different local working arrangements. Building adequate support systems might help NQMs finding a balance between work and private life by having experienced midwives available as mentors. Furthermore, training and coaching of NQMs help them to become aware of their personal resources and demands and to help them strengthen their personal resources. Improving NQMs’ working position through secure employments require changes in the organization of maternity care in the Netherlands.