Sustainable Midwifery Practice Taskforce
Informed by two years of data collection with BC midwives, the Sustainable Midwifery Practice Taskforce (SMPT) used an appreciative inquiry framework to identify solutions to occupational stress and burnout among BC midwives. Taskforce members included practicing and non-practicing midwives, representatives from the Midwives Association of BC (MABC) and College of Midwives of British Columbia (CMBC), midwifery researchers and educators, members of the MABC Engagement working group, and a midwifery student representative. We engaged midwives who left the profession because of burnout and stress in the taskforce and collected data from midwives who are no longer in active practice, to better understand the reasons why they left the profession.
The taskforce recognizes that there are points in a midwife’s life when burnout and stress are more acutely felt. These vulnerable time points occur during school and the early years of practice; when midwives raise young children; when experiencing a critical incident; or if a midwife develops chronic health problems or disabilities. We must anticipate and deliver the support that is required to assist midwives if they encounter challenges in their career at these known points of vulnerability.
It is clear that developing a sustainable midwifery career begins in school, elevating the importance of how we train, guide and nurture our midwifery students. Over the past 18 months, the taskforce has spoken with key partners in BC and across Canada, to understand how midwifery practice can be more sustainable. We have spoken with midwifery association presidents and policy directors, psychologists and workplace wellness specialists, representatives from other health professional organizations, and researchers. The work of the Sustainable Midwifery Practice Taskforce has culminated in the development of this final report. The report summarizes the rationale for this work, the SMPT process and the research and discussions we conducted. It further includes actionable recommendations at all levels, from government to the individual midwife, to help improve the sustainability of midwifery as a career in BC and enhance the wellbeing of BC midwives. Finally, the report includes an appendix of relevant resources.