University of Limerick
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A seesaw of equilibrium, midwives’ experiences of infection prevention and control guideline adherence: A qualitative descriptive study

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-10, 13:57 authored by Maura McCarthy, Martina GiltenaneMartina Giltenane, Owen DoodyOwen Doody

Background: Infection prevention and control guidelines play a key role in preventing infections which can impact mothers and their newborn’s quality of life. Despite the presence of evidenced-based infection prevention and control guidelines, midwives’ adherence can be suboptimal internationally. The identification of facilitators and barriers to infection prevention and control guidelines can support practice and facilitate midwifery care.

Aim: To understand midwives’ experiences of the barriers and facilitators when adhering to infection prevention and control guidelines.

Methods: A qualitative descriptive study using semi-structured interviews with 10 midwives from February to March 2022. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed utilising Braun and Clarke’s thematic analysis framework involving the six steps of becoming familiar with the data, generating initial codes, generating themes, reviewing themes, defining and naming the themes, and presenting themes.

Findings: Two themes developed; seesaw for equilibrium and back to basics: learning on your feet. Midwives experienced conflicting emotional motivators in the need for professional integrity towards infection prevention and control guideline adherence. The work environment impacts on midwives’ ability to adhere to guidelines and communication and education have a vital role to play in infection prevention and control guideline adherence.

Conclusions: While midwives have a strong sense of protection of professional integrity, work conditions such as environment, organisational structures, and management systems affect midwives’ adherence to infection prevention and control guidelines. Effective education, training, and communication are required to promote infection prevention and control guideline adherence.



Journal of Infection Prevention, 2024


SAGE Publications

Also affiliated with

  • Health Research Institute (HRI)

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  • (3) Good Health and Well-being

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  • Nursing and Midwifery

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