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The Midwifery and Maternity Services Research Unit

EXPert – Exploring midwives’ and nurses’ perceptions of ‘expertise’: views of midwives and nurses employed at a tertiary women’s hospital

Robyn Matthews, Rebecca Hyde, Della Forster, Fleur Llewelyn (the Women’s) Touran Shafiei, Michelle Newton

The concept of ‘expertise’ within the midwifery workforce is traditionally based on number of years that a clinician has been practicing. As the number of years in the workforce increases so does the level of compensation, suggesting a correlation between time spent since qualifying and increased ability/value. Anecdotally, when arranging staffing, managers may view staff not simply based on the number of years they have been practicing but also in terms of how much of a perceived ‘expert’ they are. Some staff exhibit a high level of perceived ‘expertise’, resulting in them being regarded as being crucial to the skill mix of the unit on a ‘day-to-day’ basis, yet receive no formal recognition. What is ‘expertise’ from a practical point of view if it means more than just the number of years worked?

The aim of this study is to develop a functional definition of expertise within the midwifery workforce that can be applied to recruitment, rostering, supporting staff, skill mix and workforce strategies.

FUNDING: Royal Women’s Hospital (staff support)