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Secondary traumatic stress in iranian midwives: stimuli factors, outcomes and risk management

Maryam Hajiesmaello, , Hedyeh Riazi, Hamid Alavi Majd, Roya Yavarian
Published: 24 January 2022

Abstract: Background: The present qualitative study was conducted to explain the experiences of secondary traumatic stress (STS) and its related factors in midwives working in maternity wards. Methods: Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with 11 midwives working in the maternity wards of hospitals in Urmia, Iran, through in-depth interviews with open-ended questions. Data were analyzed using the conventional content analysis approach. Results: The results of data analysis led to the extraction of three themes, seven main categories, and 18 subcategories. The first theme was “STS stimuli,” with the two categories of “Discriminatory approach to midwifery” and “The nature of the midwifery profession”. The second theme was “Traumatic outcomes”, which included the subcategories of “Psychological-emotional trauma”, “Physical trauma” and “Social trauma”. The third theme was “Risk management”, which had the two subcategories of “Reactive approach” and “Proactive approach”. Conclusions: The results showed that, in addition to the traumatic nature of events that midwives experience during work as the secondhand victims, factors such as governance-organizational structure, unbalanced distribution of power, and poor supportive laws undermine their professional role and provide conditions conducive to STS. Therefore, avoiding traumatic situations and scientific and skill self-empowerment were the most important strategies adopted by the midwives in this study to prevent risky situations and cope with the consequences of STS. The participation of midwifery stakeholders in policy-making and adopting supportive legislation in redefining the position and role of midwives can play a major role in reducing STS and sustaining their role and position in maternal care.
Keywords: Secondary traumatic stress / Midwife / Job experience

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