PROFESSIONAL MATURITY OR INDEPENDENCE?

Authors

  • Joyce E. Thompson CNM, DPH, FAAN

    Director, Corresponding author
      Nurse-Midwifery Program, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, 420 Service Drive S2, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
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    • Dr. Thompson is Associate Professor and Director of the Nurse-Midwifery master's program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. She received her nurse-midwifery education at Maternity Center Association in 1966 and has been in active practice since that time in Chile, New York, and now Pennsylvania. She is also Director of Nurse-Midwifery at Pennsylvania Hospital and maintains a small private practice there. Dr. Thompson has taught in certificate and master's basic nurse-midwifery educational programs since 1971.


Nurse-Midwifery Program, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, 420 Service Drive S2, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

ABSTRACT

This paper discusses the thesis that nurse-midwifery will grow and flourish in a climate of economic constraint and competition if every nurse-midwife assumes both the responsibilities and privileges of professional maturity. This maturity is based on the concept of interdependence in relationships with clients, physicians, and nurses, and other nurse-midwives. These relationships are also built upon mutual respect and trust. Concerns for client self-determination at the expense of safety, paternalism/maternalism at the expense of client autonomy, expansion of midwifery practice into medicine, and the extension of professional limits of practice beyond one's level of competence are discussed. The final goal of healthier mothers and babies with access to care for all women requires nurse-midwifery care in cooperation with other health professionals. No one professional group can meet this goal alone.

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