Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Services Research
Objective: Midwifery graduates may experience transition shock that makes them question their fit for their workplace and the profession and in extreme cases, may lead to them leaving. Understanding graduate midwives’ worldviews, job intentions and work experiences is important to inform retention strategies. Factors such as having a strong professional identity and experiencing strong job satisfaction are important for midwife retention. Conversely, stress, trauma and work-life imbalances are examples of factors that lead to attrition from midwifery. Transition shock experienced by some graduates can exacerbate these factors if not managed effectively. This study aimed to identify causes and impact of any changes in graduate and early career midwives’ philosophy, practice, and intention to stay in the profession. Design, setting and participants: We invited the 2021 and 2022 cohorts of graduating midwifery students from all educational pathways in Victoria, Australia to participate in a longitudinal descriptive study using a questionnaire with both closed and open -ended questions. This paper reports the findings from 16 participants that completed the first survey of a five-year longitudinal descriptive study. Findings: The sixteen participants predominantly held a woman centred philosophy and ideally wanted to work in a midwife-led model of care. Although excited about moving into practice, they also disclosed a sense of needing to ‘survive’ in a maternity care system that their beliefs were not fully in alignment with. Key conclusions: The hopes, expectations and concerns of midwifery students who are anticipating moving into practice in this study resonate with those previously reported and demonstrate the need to consider personality-job fit in supporting this vulnerable group to transition. Implications for practice: This study provides insights into graduating midwives’ hopes for, expectations of, and concerns about transitioning into practice that may inform the design of transition programs and support expansion of midwifery led models of care.
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