The Relationship Between Restrictive Regulation of Midwives, Practice Environment, and Professional Burnout: A 7-State Mixed-Methods Comparison of Autonomous and Restrictive State Regulation

E. Brie Thumm, Ann Schaeffer, Alexandra Michel, A. Kristienne McFarland, Maryann H. Long, Zachary Giano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between state regulation of the midwifery workforce, practice environment, and burnout. BACKGROUND: Burnout threatens the US midwifery workforce, with over 40% of certified nurse-midwives meeting criteria. Burnout can lead to poorer physical and mental health and withdrawal from the workforce. Burnout in midwives has been associated with lack of control and autonomy. In the United States, midwives' autonomy is restricted through state-level regulation that limits scope of practice and professional independence. METHODS: A mixed-methods study was conducted using an explanatory sequential approach. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected by online surveys and analyzed in a 2-stage process, followed by data integration. RESULTS: State regulation was not found to be independently associated with burnout (n = 248; P = .250); however, mediation analysis showed a significant association between state regulation, practice environment, and burnout. Qualitative analysis mirrored the importance of practice environment and expanded on its features. CONCLUSION: For midwives, unrestrictive practice regulation may not translate to burnout prevention without supportive practice environments. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE AND RESEARCH: Interventions should focus on promoting job flexibility, realistic demands, and professional values. While midwives' commitment to patients and the profession can help bolster the workforce, it can also amplify negative experiences of the practice environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-146
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of perinatal & neonatal nursing
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2024

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