Original Research: Midwives’ and Medical professionals’ perspectives of collaborative practice at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital Maternity Unit, Malawi: The discovery phase of an appreciative inquiry project

Elizabeth Chodzaza

University of Malawi Kamuzu College of Nursing, Faculty of Midwifery, Neonatal and Reproductive Health Studies, Blantyre, Malawi


This paper reports on part of a larger study, the aim of which was to develop an intervention to collaboratively develop innovative strategies to promote effective collaborative practices among midwives and medical professionals working in intrapartum care unit. Collaborative practice is a critical marker for success in improving quality of maternity care. To date, there has been limited exploration of collaborative practices between midwives and medical professionals working in intrapartum care from the African perspective.
This paper reports findings of the discovery phase of appreciative inquiry (AI) set out to
understand the perspectives of midwives and medical professionals on collaborative practices at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital labour and delivery ward in Malawi.
The study used an exploratory qualitative approach framed in an Appreciative Inquiry theoretical perspective. Appreciative Inquiry consists of four phases :(discovery, dream, design and destiny).
The discovery phase consisted of 16 in-depth interviews and 2 focus group discussions among purposively selected midwives (4 nurse midwives, 2 midwifery unit matrons) and medical professionals (2 obstetricians, 4 registrars, 2 intern doctors, 2 clinical officers) working in the labour ward. All interviews and discussions were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
Five dominant themes emerged: collaborative breakdown, benefits of collaboration, the importance of positive and respectful attitude, barriers to effective collaborative practices and strategies to improve collaborative practice.
Aligning the perspectives of the members of the two disciplines is significant to effective implementation of collaborative intrapartum care. Participants demonstrated that there is increased parallel working of midwives and doctors at QECH. This is not professionally healthy. Therefore, putting together the viewpoints of the professions to create a mutually agreeable professional framework of collaborative intrapartum practice is significant. Additionally, there is an obvious need to address the professional concerns of both disciplines.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1995-7262
print ISSN: 1995-7262

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