An empirical investigation into beliefs about collaborative practice among maternity care providers

Bernadette M. Watson, Michelle L. Heatley, Sue Kruske, Cindy Gallois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. To investigate agreement with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) definition of collaboration in maternity care by care providers, and to examine their preferences for models of care in order to shed light on the lack of success in implementing collaborative practice.

Methods. Maternity care providers completed a survey in Queensland. The final sample consisted of 337 participants, including 281 midwives (83.38%), 35 obstetricians (10.39%), and 21 general practitioners (6.23%).

Results. Ninety-one percent of the participants agreed with the NHMRC definition of collaboration: Midwives (M = 5.97, s.d. = 1.2) and doctors (obstetricians and general practitioners: M = 5.7, s.d. = 1.35) did not differ significantly in their level of agreement with definition (t (332) = –1.8, P = .068). However, 72% of doctors endorsed a doctor-led model of care, whereas only 6.8% of midwives indicated agreement with it. Fewer (56%) doctors agreed with the midwife-led model of care, whereas 99.3% of midwives endorsed it.

Conclusion. The concept of collaboration does not recognise the different interpretations by midwives and doctors of its impact on their roles and behaviours. Successful collaborative practice requires the development of guidelines that recognise these differences and specify the communication behaviour that would assist midwives and doctors to practice collaboratively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-470
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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