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Penny Curtis, Linda Ball, Mavis Kirkham
British Journal of Midwifery, Vol. 14, Iss. 3, 02 Mar 2006, pp 138 - 141

Findings from the Why do Midwives Leave? (WML) study evidenced divisions between midwives and their managers. In the Talking to Managers (TTM) study (Curtis, Ball and Kirkham 2003), these horizontal divisions were also acknowledged by managers. However, other ‘fault-lines’ are also visible within midwifery. Distinctions between midwives were made on the basis of academic credentials: for promotion, formal educational achievements were felt to be valued over clinical skills and experience, leading to perceptions of a ‘two-tier’ system. Managers also distinguished between midwives on the basis of practice philosophy; midwifery idealists, who were seen as ill-fitted to the stresses of ‘real’ midwifery work, were contrasted with midwifery realists, who knew how they ‘actually had to work in practise’. Though divisions between midwives may function as defence mechanisms for some, they can leave other midwives isolated and vulnerable to the inappropriate behaviour of others in the workplace.

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