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Jenny Patterson, PhD, RM, BM, BSc. hons

  • Speaker Type: Secondary Traumatic Stress in Midwives - Jenny Patterson
  • Country: Scotland

Jenny is currently a midwifery lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. Jenny’s work as a midwife since 2007, both independently and in the UK National Health Service, led to her particular interest in women’s traumatic birth experiences and midwives work-related trauma. Jenny’s PhD thesis explored Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in women post childbirth (PTSD-PC). The focus was the woman/midwife interaction, which is a significant factor in the development of PTSD-PC. Jenny deeply explored the lived experience of this interaction from the perspectives of women with PTSD-PC and midwives. The key findings highlight the risk of trauma for midwives and the impact this has on their interaction with those they provide care for. Jenny passionately believes that for optimal maternity care interactions we must first ensure midwives and other maternity care professionals are supported and empowered in their role with respect to their human needs, training requirements, and professional autonomy and respect. Jenny has disseminated her PhD findings widely at midwifery and birth trauma conferences in the UK and Europe. In 2013, Jenny completed trauma and wellness training with Capacitar International and has since offered many trauma wellbeing sessions with midwives and other healthcare professionals as well as pregnant people and parents, and now midwifery students.

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Secondary Traumatic Stress in Midwives
People may experience post traumatic stress symptoms after an experience during which they witnessed or experienced, actual or perceived threat of harm or death. For the purpose of this presentation the key word here is witness which may lead to secondary traumatic stress (STS). Midwives may witness birth events during which the woman or baby were at risk of harm or death as often as 60 times every year. Around 70% of midwives regularly witness high levels of obstetric interventions or disrespectful or indifferent interpersonal care of women. While poorly perceived interpersonal interactions between midwives and women are the strongest predictor of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for the women, STS increases midwives’ risk of PTSD, as experienced by 17% to 33% of midwives. The Covid-19 pandemic has added an incredibly heavy further layer to this with the experience of Moral Injury compounding the risk to midwives’ psychological wellbeing. There is an ethical obligation for healthcare services to acknowledge and address the psychological wellbeing of midwives, if not only to support the health of a dedicated and passionate workforce, but also because midwives who are traumatized and stressed are more likely to interact poorly with women and birthing people and thus increase the risk of PTSD for these new mothers.
Accreditation, Live Webinar, Main Category, Product Type
Presentations: 1  |  Hours / CE Credits: 1  |  Viewing Time: 4 Weeks
Hours / CE Credits: 1 (details)  |  Categories: Burnout, Compassion Fatigue and Solutions, Midwifery