FEMINISM AND NURSE-MIDWIFERY

Historical Overview and Current Issues

Authors

  • William F. McCool CNM,

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    • Bill McCool, cnm, is a doctoral candidate in the College of Health and Human Development at Pennsylvania State University and is currently studying biopsychosocial factors that influence the well-being of childbearing women and their children. He is a graduate of the Nurse-Midwifery Program of the Medical University of South Carolina and has earned an MS in Nursing from Pennsylvania State University. He works part-time at Family Health Services in central Pennsylvania and is a member of the Family Planning Council of Central Pennsylvania.

  • Sandi J. McCool CNM

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    • Sandi McCool, cnm, is currently attending Pennsylvania State University, where she takes advanced courses in nursing in the College of Health and Human Development. She is a graduate of the Nurse-Midwifery Program of the Medical University of South Carolina. She works part-time at Family Health Services in central Pennsylvania, is a member of the Family Planning Council of Central Pennsylvania, and at Centre Community Hospital of State College, Pennsylvania.


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ABSTRACT

Despite the fact that the profession of nurse-midwifery and feminism are both disciplines concerned with women and issues affecting women's lives, there has been little investigation or acknowledgment of relationships between their two paradigms. The work presented here is an attempt to discover both similarities and differences between nurse-midwifery and feminist thought. Using a historical approach, it is shown that despite the common goal of improving and maintaining women's status in the world, whether in general or more specifically with regard to health, feminist theorists and nurse-midwives, to a large degree, have worked separately from each other, rarely acknowledging in any formal way the importance of the other discipline. Current issues that have an effect on the practice of nurse-midwifery today—lay midwifery, the profession of nursing, and nurse-midwifery research—are presented in relation to contemporary feminist thought.

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