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Keeping the Love Alive: Factors Contributing to Increased Satisfaction for New Zealand Case Loading Midwives

Megan Koontz
13 February 2015

Koontz, M. (2015). Keeping the Love Alive: Factors Contributing to Increased Satisfaction for New Zealand Case Loading Midwives. (A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the degree of Master of Midwifery at Otago Polytechnic) [PDF 641KB]


Working as a midwife can be very rewarding and satisfying but can also be very challenging at times. This study examines New Zealand case loading midwives and attempts to identify factors that contribute to maintaining and increasing satisfaction levels. Midwives in New Zealand regained their professional autonomy in 1990 with the passing of the Nurses Amendment Act (1990), and since that time have cared for women and their babies throughout their pregnancy, labour and up to six weeks postpartum. The style of practice is not prescribed, though most midwives work in small group practices of about 3-6 practitioners. While satisfaction levels, and in particular factors linked to burnout have been thoroughly researched, studies that identify practices that increase satisfaction, and that therefore could help contribute to a more stable work
force, are rare. 

Three midwives from one area in New Zealand were interviewed by telephone or videoconference video, the interviews were transcribed, coded and analysed using mind mapping with thematic analysis. This produced three tightly interwoven and interdependent themes based on satisfaction from client interaction, from professional interactions and the importance of looking after oneself and maintaining a satisfying lifestyle outside midwifery. 

The areas described by these midwives which related to satisfaction were; relationships both with clients and other professionals, and personal needs, including time for family and friends. Midwives placed different importance on different areas, depending on their past experiences, their personal histories and their personalities. Allowing for this diversity strengthens the midwifery workforce, and promotes understanding between midwives. 

Key words: Midwifery; Work/Life Balance; Burnout; Sustainable Practice; Sustainability

Megan's thesis was supervised by Suzanne Miller and Jean Patterson.


This thesis is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International.

Creative Commons License