In many countries, midwives are experts in caring for healthy pregnant women. Studies have demonstrated that continuous midwifery-led and evidence-based care models are safer and more effective than traditional obstetric care models. However, to achieve this, it is essential that midwives know, interpret, and put into practice the latest research findings. This ensures safe, transparent, effective and efficient healthcare and that the standards of midwifery care meet the expectations of pregnant women, their families and society.
The implementation of evidence-based midwifery practice in Austria continues to be a professional challenge. It has been suggested that many health professionals find it difficult to implement evidence into their daily work, as they have to come to terms with competing priorities. Numerous organisational and individual barriers influence the implementation and acceptance of evidence-based practice. Studies indicate that barriers include a lack of resources and skills as the most common obstacles to the implementation and use of evidence in midwifery practice.
Our aim was to provide SMEs providing midwifery services with the skills and resources to overcome the reported barriers to implementing the principles of evidence-based practice. We developed a teaching and learning concept tailored for practicing midwives, which enabled them to acquire the necessary skills to develop practical, sustainable, and successful strategies for the implementation of research findings in their daily practice. After completing a 40-hour qualification seminar, all participating midwives reported that they felt more confident in interpreting and using research evidence. They also stated that this was a complex process and that they would need more practice to master the newly acquired skills. In addition, they commented that the newly acquired skills and knowledge will assist them in their decision-making process, when advsing women during pregnancy, labour and the postnatal period.
The project is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency.