Understanding the 'work' of caseload midwives: A mixed-methods exploration of two caseload midwifery models in Victoria, Australia Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Caseload midwifery models are becoming more common in Australian maternity care. Little is known about how caseload midwifery compares with mainstream models of midwifery care in terms of both the organisation of the work and the meaning of the work for caseload midwives.To explore caseload and standard care midwives' views and experiences of midwifery work in two new caseload models in Victoria, Australia.A mixed-methods approach was used. Quantitative data were collected using two cross-sectional surveys of midwives at the two study sites at the commencement of the caseload model and after two years. Qualitative data were collected using in-depth interviews with caseload midwives six months and two years after commencing in the role. Content analysis was used to analyse open-ended survey questions, and interview data were analysed thematically. Themes arising from these data sources were then considered using Normalization Process Theory.Two themes emerged from the data. Caseload midwifery was a 'different' way of working, involving activity-based work, working on-call, fluid navigation between work and personal time and avoiding burnout. Working in caseload was also perceived by caseload midwives to be 'real' midwifery, facilitating relationships with women, and requiring responsibility, accountability, autonomy and legitimacy in their practice. Perceptions of caseload work were influenced by understanding these differences in caseload work compared to mainstream maternity care.Increased understanding of the differences between caseload work and mainstream maternity models, and introducing opportunities to be exposed to caseload work may contribute to sustainability of caseload models.

publication date

  • 2016