Being part of a home birth community, it is really important for a midwife to have peer reviews of care. When there is solo practices “doing their own thing,” keeping up with evidence based care and colleague evaluations are very important. Being able to have regular meetings with other midwives in your community helps boost relationships for call coverage, improvement of client outcomes with educational conferences together, and creates a gateway for clear communication and updating other midwives about changes happening locally and nationally.
Having midwives meet together quarterly create a true sense of midwifery community. Have each midwife rotate responsibilities for the meetings: one sets up an educational presentation, peer review on one good and poor outcome that has happened recently, and another brings national and local updates to present. Depending on how large your out of hospital midwifery community it, the meetings can be local or state wide invitation. I have seen best results when 8-12 midwives get together. Larger groups of 30-50 are better for annual meet ups (maybe local chapters come together). ACNM has many state organized events that Certified Nurse Midwives can attend.
These small community run meetings can really help keep accountability to your fellow midwife. Reviewing charts together for educational purposes occur in hospitals all the time. Midwives can learn just as much from a book as from learning from each other mistakes and triumphs. Going over transport outcomes, policies, and keeping up with EMS transport collaboration meetings are essential for good outcomes.
Learning each midwives suggestions of what to try, do, or supplies available to handle similar emergency situations is really helpful in a limited resource setting like home. Your midwife colleagues that do directly what you are doing can give valuable insight to improving processes. Even having discussion of near misses and the good outcomes that occur help newer midwives learn from your personal experience. Newer midwives fresh out of school will have more evidence based styles to try that the seasoned midwives can learn more.
Quarterly meetings help create a sense of community among the midwives. Having similar fee schedules, expectations, risk out criteria, and commission rate to cover call for each other really helps strengthen each midwife’s direct practice. If one midwife doesn’t do VBACs and another one takes client’s that have had 3 prior cesarean sections, it will create tension and hesitancy to cover each other for vacation. Personal time is important and having good working relationships with fellow midwives in community really prevents professional burnout.
Be a leader in your community and reach out to fellow midwives to get meetings started. Even if it is bi-annually, take the time to coordinate get together. Midwives are busy, but being proactive rather than reactive with your outcomes will benefit everyone’s midwifery businesses.