Developing conflict resolution strategies and building resilient midwifery students: Protocol for a Mixed Methods Research Study

Naomi Simpson*, Mary Steen, Rachael Vernon, Annette Briley, Dianne Wepa

*Corresponding author for this work

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Workplace bullying, and violence is a well-documented issue in the midwifery profession. Negative workplace culture, conflict and bullying are the most common forms of workplace violence experienced by midwives. Workplace violence increases the risk of midwives suffering burnout, compassion fatigue, psychological trauma, poor mental health, absenteeism, loss of passion for the midwifery profession, job dissatisfaction and poor job retention. Midwifery students describe workplace violence in the form of physical, emotional and/or verbal abuse, and bullying. Therefore, there is a justification to develop conflict resolution strategies and resilience in midwifery students prior to graduation.

To develop and facilitate a bespoke education program for South Australian (SA) midwifery students, to enable them to develop skills in conflict resolution, build resilience and identify self-care strategies.

This study will undertake a preparatory phase summarising the body of literature on midwifery students’ knowledge, understanding and experiences of workplace bullying, and violence. Following this a three-phase sequential mixed methods research design study will be undertaken. Phase 1 - quantitative data will be collected via a semi-structured questionnaire and a validated conflict measurement tool, prior to and after attending an education workshop, and will be analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results from Phase 1 will inform and guide the development of an interview schedule for Phase 2. Phase 2 – qualitative data will be gathered by facilitating one-to-one interviews and a thematic analysis will be undertaken to gain a deeper understanding of midwifery students experiences of workplace bullying, and violence. Phase 3 – data integration using triangulation will be undertaken, and meta inferences will be developed via the integration of results and findings from Phase 1 and 2.

The preparatory phase will commence in October 2021. Phase 1 will commence in 2022 with analysis of pre and post education results anticipated to be completed by December 2022. Phase 2 will be developed from findings of the preparatory phase and results of Phase 1. An interpretation of verbatim interview transcripts is estimated to be undertaken by April 2023. Phase 3 of the study is expected to commence in May 2023, and this will involve the analysis of collective evidence gathered from phases 1 and phase 2. The anticipated completion date for the study is December 2023.

The outcomes of this research will provide insights into the prevalence and impact of workplace bullying, and violence experienced by midwifery students. The findings of the research will report on levels of knowledge, skills, and confidence, and will assess the impact of a bespoke conflict resolution and resilience education workshop for midwifery students, in managing workplace bullying, and violence.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere35558
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2022


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