Making a difference: the experiences of midwives working with women who use illicit drugs

Miles, Maureen, Chapman, Ysanne, and Francis, Karen (2012) Making a difference: the experiences of midwives working with women who use illicit drugs. International Journal of Childbirth, 2 (4). pp. 245-254.

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Aim: This article describes the experiences of midwives who choose to work with pregnant women who use illicit drugs.

Background: Pregnant women who use illicit drugs present complex challenges for those whochoose to work with them. Society's views on illicit drug use fluctuate from acceptance and harm minimizationto reprimand and retribution.

Method: Qualitative interviews were conducted between June and August 2009 with 12 Australianmidwives. A thematic analysis method informed by hermeneutic phenomenology was applied to interpretthis data to explicate lived experiences and gain deeper understanding and meanings of this phenomenon.

Findings: Three major themes encapsulated the experience: making a difference, making partnerships, and learning to let go. The focus of this article, "making a difference," included two subthemes of "working on the margins" and "transition and transformation." The midwives were both rewarded andchallenged by the needs of women who use illicit drugs and by the systems in which they worked.

Conclusions: The midwives acknowledged that their aspirations "to make a difference" was notalways sufficient when working with women who use illicit drugs. They also require the establishmentof maternity services that are compassionate and accessible, including woman–care provider partnershipsand continuity of the care environments.

Item ID: 49381
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2156-5295
Keywords: midwifery; illicit drugs; vulnerable; pregnant; hermeneutic phenomenology
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2017 04:07
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1110 Nursing > 111006 Midwifery @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920507 Womens Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920414 Substance Abuse @ 50%
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