Maternity care practice is characterized by close co-operation between obstetricians, midwives, family physicians and nurses, nevertheless, conflict has been reported between many healthcare professionals. The level of conflict or co-operation between maternity care professionals depends on the organization and culture of the working environment. Collaboration in midwifery terms has been defined as: “exercising of effort by midwives and physicians towards each other for the purposes of sharing functions, rewarding and effecting care to women and their families.” The term collaboration is used with related terms such as co-operation and teamwork.
While midwives are centered on promoting and protecting birth as a normal physiological process, for most birthing women, the totality of their care falls within the scope of midwifery practice. There are occasions, however, when the complexity of a woman is inevitable, there is a rising need for collaborative function within other birth expert. The midwifery profession is becoming increasingly involved in building relationships with the professional bodies of other healthcare disciplines. This is to ensure that those involved in the production of clinical guidelines for practice and in policy discussions are aware of the full scope of midwifery practice. If collaboration within your midwifery business and practice happens, here are some great tips you can use.
Steps to Improving Collaboration
1. Define Your Collaborative Approach to Health Care
A collaborative team is best defined as a group of medical practitioners from different professions who share patients and patient care goals and have responsibilities for complementary tasks on an ongoing basis. Establish what these teams will look like at your organization to begin setting your staff and coworkers up for success.
2. Delegate the Roles of Each Team Member, Respect Job Roles
The education of a health professional is largely separated by profession, limiting the knowledge one staff member has about the skillset of another and potentially causing future problems. Learning to understand the roles and responsibilities of other professionals is necessary to function effectively on any team, especially in health care, because the team’s success lies in providing quality treatment to patients.
3. Assign Specific Responsibilities and Tasks
In a perfect world, midwifery students would learn about the essential components of collaboration concerning coordination, communication, and shared responsibility. In some cases, this is taught before entering the workforce, and in others, it must be reinforced in the field on an ongoing basis. Effective communication is needed to facilitate coordinated care at all times. An ideal communication system would include a well-designed digital filing system, regularly scheduled meetings to discuss patient care issues around the clock, and a mechanism for communicating with external systems.
4. Practice Collaborating, Handling Conflicts, and Working Towards Improvement
Collaboration among team members who have different perspectives and areas of expertise often results in fresh insights and solutions to problems that rarely get achieved by one health professional working in a silo.
Each member of the staff should become aware that because of the professional diversity present on the team, differences of opinion and conflict are not only inevitable but are important for the continued growth of your collaboration hence why it is so important to practice and educate on how to deal with these types of issues.
Successful collaborative practice requires several conditions. First, and most importantly, the woman must remain at the center of the process. In order that she may participate in informed decision-making, information-sharing must occur in a context where her values and philosophical beliefs are respected and upheld. Midwives can assist women to critically examine the evidence presented to them and help them make sense of those aspects that appear conflicting or inconclusive. When the woman is central to the collaborative process, her ability to tease out the important elements (to her) of both midwifery and obstetric practice will mean that she can formulate a plan of care that will best meet her needs. Edwards (2000, p 81) uses the phrase ‘a potentially radicalizing effect on the maternity system’ to describe what can happen when the relationships between caregivers and women become the organizing principle around which care is structured.
Behruzi, R., Klam, S., Dehertog, M., Jimenez, V., & Hatem, M. (2017, June 26). Understanding factors affecting collaboration between midwives and other health care professionals in a birth center and its affiliated Quebec Hospital: A case study – BMC pregnancy and childbirth. BioMed Central. Retrieved July 15, 2022, from https://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-017-1381-x#:~:text=Collaboration%20in%20midwifery%20terms%20has,operation%20and%20teamwork%20%5B10%5D.
Hammer, R. (2021, October 11). 4 ways to improve efficiencies in your healthcare practice. ReferralMD. Retrieved July 14, 2022, fromhttps://getreferralmd.com/2019/03/medical-staff-collaborate-efficiently/
Themes, U. F. O. (2016, June 18). Working in collaboration. Nurse Key. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://nursekey.com/working-in-collaboration/