Practice development for midwifery education: an innovative way forward
Within workplaces there can be several different cultures operating, and it is widely recognised that this occurs in health services. Midwifery and maternity care has, and continues to face many challenges as services continually change and develop to meet the needs of women and their families. To help meet these challenges a practice development initiative was undertaken within a large maternity service in Australia to improve the learning and workplace culture. This service consisted of four separate units providing care for women and their families in the antenatal, birthing, postnatal and neonatal periods. The coming together of these four units as a service began with the creation of a shared values statement which was adopted by all midwifery staff. To obtain evidence of the current workplace, observations of practice, the review of women's stories, and audits of clinical data were undertaken. Nine midwives were trained and supported to facilitate critical discussions of the data. These critical discussions, reflections and analysis of the data, led to the identification of four domains or key areas the staff prioritised for change. This led to practice development groups being formed within the maternity service, who developed collaborative and creative ways of thinking about the issues or problems identified. This paper highlights how the processes of practice development were implemented to improve one of these domains "the learning and workplace culture", especially in relation to educational information and resources for women, their families and staff. The journey began over three years ago and continues to evolve.