The plasticity of professional boundaries: A case study of collaborative care in maternity services

Lane, Karen
October 2006
Health Sociology Review;Oct2006, Vol. 15 Issue 4, p341
Academic Journal
A case study of twenty-nine midwives and nine obstetricians working in a regional, public sector Australian hospital demonstrates the plasticity of professional boundaries within a post-welfare state. Driven by new discourses of globalisation, marketisation, managerialism and consumerism, professional boundaries in health care are being blurred, reordered and reconstituted. Government policies that call for a new interdisciplinarity between maternity professionals may be seen as responses to the above pressures. However, there remain considerable barriers to achieving collaborative models including conflicting interpretations of risk, of women's bodies and of childbirth; the veto power of decision-making retained by obstetricians; questions of professional accountability; and diversity over appropriate styles of micro-interaction. Collaboration demands a new egalitarianism to eclipse the old vertical system of obstetric dominance and this means that midwives need to create a distinctive professional specialty, or new object of knowledge. Midwives' skill in 'emotion management' could provide this speciality in addition to their rational-technical knowledge and thus elevate midwifery to an equivalent professional status with obstetrics but as yet neither obstetrics nor midwifery have realised its professionalising potential.


Related Articles

  • WHEN OB & MIDWIFE TEAM UP.  // Fit Pregnancy;Feb/Mar2012, Vol. 18 Issue 6, p26 

    The article focuses on joining of obstetricians and midwives as a team for better outcomes of childbirth as surveyed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Nurse Midwives.

  • Case studies in childbirth journals: stories of unusual birth. Walsh, Denis // British Journal of Midwifery;Nov2009, Vol. 17 Issue 11, p688 

    The article argues that sharing unusual birth stories of physiology is one of the ways to expand knowledge relevant to midwifery. The author recalls an unusual birth story that was experienced by a midwife. He also explains how the term unusual birth was coined. He further argues that publishing...

  • the best hospitals in america to have a baby. Roan, Shari // Fit Pregnancy;Dec/Jan2003, Vol. 9 Issue 5, p70 

    Focuses on the top ten U.S. hospitals in which to give birth, as of January 2003. Factors considered in selecting the hospitals; Details on outstanding birth centers, obstetricians and midwives; Guidelines for expectant mothers when choosing a hospital for childbirth.

  • home sweet home. Winik, Marion // Fit Pregnancy;Oct/Nov2004, Vol. 11 Issue 4, p160 

    Presents an article on a home birth experience. Reaction of the obstetrician to the mother's decision to have the baby at home; Description of the midwife; Difference between home birth and hospital delivery.

  • Origin of Horror Stories.  // Midwifery Matters;Summer2008, Issue 117, p30 

    The author responds to the article that discusses a new method that could help midwives and obstetrician hasten the physiological third stage of childbirth which involves placenta removal. She agrees that delivering mothers are at increased risk of bleeding when they will be kept waiting for...

  • Dutch insurers pay midwives to refer fewer to hospital. Sheldon, Tony // BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition);11/18/2006, Vol. 333 Issue 7577, p1034 

    The author reports that gynecologists in the Netherlands believe that women could have additional complications in childbirth due to a contract between health insurers and midwives providing financial incentives that will reduce expensive referrals to hospitals. The Dutch Association for...

  • The price of love. Tarakson, Stella // Australian Parents;Oct/Nov2005, p107 

    Focuses on the cost of childbirth depending on chosen medical practitioners. Public hospital system; Private obstetrician; Independent midwives.

  • Mobility and maternal position during childbirth in Tanzania: an exploratory study at four government hospitals. Lugina, Helen; Mlay, Rose; Smith, Helen // BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth;2004, Vol. 4, p3 

    Background: Emerging research evidence suggests a potential benefit in being upright in the first stage of labour and a systematic review of trials suggests both benefits and harmful effects associated with being upright in the second stage of labour. Implementing evidence-based obstetric care...

  • your guide to giving Birth. Roan, Shari; Horton, Mary Jane; Vanchieri, Cori; Sato, Gayle; Hynes, Angela; Stevens, Laura Roe; Tarkan, Laurie; Kelly, Alice Lesch; Sosin, Joan S.; Hanessian, Lu // Fit Pregnancy;Dec2003/Jan2004, Vol. 10 Issue 5, p80 

    Presents advice to pregnant women on preparing for giving birth. Comparison between giving birth in a hospital and home birth; Factors to consider in choosing an obstetrician or a midwife to deliver the baby; Techniques for easier labor.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics