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Regulation and wellbeing in midwives

Midwives’ Experiences Following a Nursing and Midwifery Council Fitness to Practice Referral and Outcome: a phenomenological study

What we are doing?

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is a professional regulator, working to protect the public. A registrant is referred to the NMC’s Fitness to Practice (FtP) process if concerns are raised regarding their practice or conduct. It has been recognised that undergoing an investigation can be a stressful experience, with midwives reporting physical and mental health issues during investigations. Responding to this, the aim of the research is to understand midwives’ experience of working clinically following an NMC FtP referral. Recommendations will be developed regarding the support midwives require and how that it is best provided.

Why we are doing it?

Midwives experience of working following an FtP referral outcome has not been systematically explored, the study will address this. As well as making theoretical contributions to the current limited knowledge base, the research will also determine midwives’ needs and make practical recommendations. Although the research focus is midwives’ wellbeing, it is expected the findings could be utilised by other registered professions; both in and out of the healthcare context.

What the benefits will be and to whom?

The work of midwives has been recognised as emotionally straining. Midwives suffer high levels of stress, depression, anxiety, personal and work related burnout. The wellbeing of healthcare workers can directly affect the quality of care provided and patient satisfaction. Poor wellbeing amongst healthcare workers has also contributed to high attrition rates within the UK healthcare workforce. It is therefore envisaged that the research findings of how best to support midwives wellbeing will be of interest to professional regulatory authorities, midwives, midwifery educators, Professional Midwifery Advocates, and employers of midwives.

Who we are working with?

The researcher is working with an expert advisory group, specifically convened to support this project. The group members work in various locations and geographical areas and comprise clinical midwives, a Royal College of Midwives Lead Steward, and experts in the field of healthcare regulation and wellbeing. As the researcher is a PhD student located within the University of Nottingham, she also has access to the Maternal Health and Wellbeing Research Group.


Alison Corr,

Photo by Georg Arthur Pflueger on Unsplash