The false economy of “busy-ness”

15291266309_5f1937a00d“Place shapes the ability of midwives to “be with” women. In the labour ward, strong cultural norms press midwives to engage in “busy work” while they feel more able to sit quietly with women in primary birth settings. Midwives are more able to focus on the woman and her family in primary birth settings while “busy work” fragments their focus; an issue of safety for some. Today’s labour wards are busy places no doubt and midwives participating in this study recognise that their labour ward colleagues have to work hard, often without opportunities to provide one to one care to labouring women. However, privileging “busy-ness” and “doing” over being with women in ways that promote stillness and calm may be a false economy especially if the ambience created by “busy-ness’ disrupts the physiology of the labouring women or the focus of the midwife. Midwives have long recognised the value of the “art of doing nothing well and “doing less to give more“.”

– Deborah Davis and Caroline Homer
Davis D and Homer C (2016). Birthplace as the midwife’s work place: How does place of birth impact on midwives? Women and Birth, in press. doi:10.1016/j.wombi.2016.02.004
photo credit: At the hospital again via photopin (license)

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