Title

Exploring the feasibility of utilising dual qualifications in midwifery and health visiting

Document Type

Article

Department

School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa

Abstract

Background: Midwives and health visitors have an important contribution to make in reducing health inequalities and leading health improvement programmes in the UK. There are a number of workforce planning issues relating to midwifery and health visiting in the NHS primary care Trust areas of Liverpool and South Sefton (now Sefton) in the north-west of England.

Aim: To explore the feasibility of utilising the skills of practitioners who hold qualifications in both midwifery and health visiting in the UK through the development of a new dual-qualified role.

Method: The study was a two-phase exploratory study using quantitative and qualitative methods. Data in phase one was collected by postal questionnaires, and informed the planning of the focus groups that were then used to collect data in phase two.

Results: Data from the questionnaires provided an insight into numbers of single- and dual-qualified midwifery and health visiting staff in the study area. Data from the focus groups allowed the identification of four main themes regarding the idea of a dual-qualified role – continuity of care, problems with the role, professional issues and educational issues. In general, the proposed role was well received.

Conclusions: There would need to be clear role boundaries and infrastructure if a role was established for dual-qualified midwife-health visitors, and it would require the support of managers and commissioners. This new role might help address the implications of UK government directives, and a large-scale national study is recommended to explore these issues further. The development of such a role may also inform the development of other dual-qualified professional roles in the UK and elsewhere.

Publication

Evidence Based Midwifery