What is the impact of 12-hour shifts on midwives' emotional wellbeing and ability to safely deliver care?
Work-related stress and burnout are not uncommon within the midwifery workforce in the UK. The reasons for this are likely to be multifactorial, but organisational issues, like insufficient staffing, 12-hour shifts and dissatisfaction with the quality of care provided are all thought to contribute. Staff within maternity services influence the safety, effectiveness and quality of care a woman, her baby and family receive yet if a midwife’s overall wellbeing is significantly affected by stress and low morale, it can have a detrimental impact on the delivery of that care. Despite this, there is currently a lack of research on how organisational issues in midwifery settings might contribute to work-related stress or burnout. 12-hour shifts are thought to have a negative impact on wellbeing, performance and delivery of care, yet the evidence remains conflicting. This study employs a quantitative methodology using a non-experimental design through the use of surveys to explore and analyse the impact of shift length and working practices on midwives’ emotional wellbeing and ability to safely deliver care. Cognitive interviewing techniques will be used to pre-test the second survey to promote the validity and reliability of results. Descriptive and inferential statistics will be used in the analyses, with control of confounding variables.