AbstractMidwives experience both occupational and organisational episodes of work-related psychological distress. As the wellbeing of health professionals is linked with the safety and quality of care, these episodes of distress should be met with adequate support. Midwives can be reluctant to speak openly about episodes of work-related distress. Additionally, they may not be able, or prefer not to access face-to-face support. As such, an online intervention may be one option that midwives turn to when seeking support, as it can provide confidential and flexible access to support.
This research makes a case for the development of an online intervention, designed to effectively support midwives in work-related psychological distress. Firstly, a narrative literature review integrates contemporary research to build an overview of the nature, prevalence, and origin, of work-related psychological distress in midwifery populations. critical literature review then explores some of the ethical considerations in relation to providing midwives with anonymous and confidential online support. This review concludes that the provision of anonymity and confidentiality online would ensure the greatest benefit overall to the greatest number of people using and working within maternity services.
A systematic mixed-methods literature review then concludes that there are currently very few targeted interventions designed to support midwives in work-related distress, none of which are currently delivered online. Moreover, this review identifies insufficient high-quality research to comprehensively understand which particular interventions or techniques could deliver effective support to midwives in work-related psychological distress. Lastly, a multi-stakeholder Delphi study is presented to establish consensus in relation to the content development, design and delivery of an online intervention to support midwives and/or student midwives in work-related psychological distress. In this case, an expert panel prioritised confidentiality and anonymity, along with 24-hour mobile access, effective moderation, an online discussion forum, and additional legal, educational, and therapeutic components. Consensus also supported the inclusion of a simple user assessment to identify people at risk of either causing harm to others or experiencing harm themselves, in order to direct them to appropriate support.
The impact of any future intervention of this type will be optimised by utilising the findings from this Delphi study throughout the intervention development process. Furthermore, as the ethical, practical and evidence based arguments for the development of an online intervention designed to support midwives in work-related psychological distress now have been formed, it will be important to build and rigorously test this intervention in response to the identified gaps in research. This thesis demonstrates that there is a case for the development of an online intervention designed to support midwives in work-related psychological distress. Future research will require feasibility studies, pilot studies and adequately powered randomised controlled trials in order to secure the evidence base for any new online support for this professional population.
|Date of Award||2016|
|Supervisor||Wendy Clyne (Supervisor), Andrew Turner (Supervisor) & Emily Fulton (Supervisor)|
- Online interventions
- Psychological Distress
- Job Satisfaction