Midwives’ perceptions of the performance- and transition into practice of newly qualified midwives, a focus group study

Liesbeth Kool*, François G. Schellevis, Irma Bax, Debbie A.D.C. Jaarsma, Esther I. Feijen-de Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Problem: Newly qualified midwives in the Netherlands perceive the adaptation to new responsibilities as difficult due to the autonomous nature of- and required accountability for the work they face in practice.

Background: All Dutch newly qualified midwives are accountable for their work from the moment of registration while usually working solistically.

Aim: This paper explores the perceptions of experienced midwives regarding: (1) the performance- and transition into practice of newly qualified midwives, and (2) their supporting role in this transition.

Methods: The design of this study is qualitative with focus groups. Experienced midwives’ perceptions were explored by means of seven semi-structured focus groups (N = 46 participants) with two meetings for each focus group.

Findings: Community-based and hospital-based midwives perceived newly qualified midwives as colleagues who did not oversee all their tasks and responsibilities. They perceived newly qualified midwives as less committed to the practice organisation. Support in community-based practices was informally organised with a lack of orientation. In the hospital-based setting, midwives offered an introduction period in a practical setting, which was formally organised with tasks and responsibilities. Experienced midwives recognised the need to support newly qualified midwives; however, in practice, they faced barriers.

Discussion: The differences in experienced midwives’ expectations of newly qualified midwives and reality seemed to depend on the newly qualified midwives’ temporary working contracts and -context, rather than the generational differences that experienced midwives mentioned. Dutch midwives prioritised their work with pregnant individuals and the organisation of their practice above supporting newly qualified midwives.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen and Birth
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21-Mar-2022


  • Coaching
  • Employee orientation programmes
  • Mentoring
  • Midwifery
  • Newly qualified Midwives
  • Perceived social support

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