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ABSTRACT

This pilot study was designed to describe the clinical areas of collaboration, financial structures, and sources of conflict for certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) involved in nurse-midwife and physician collaborative practice (CP). A questionnaire was posted on an electronic bulletin board maintained by the Community-Based Nurse Midwifery Education Program of the Frontier School of Nursing. The nonrandom, convenience sample consisted of 78 respondents. Their mean age was 42 years; they had been in practice for a mean of 10 years, and 56% had graduate degrees. Eighty-nine percent reported involvement in CP. Eighty-three percent co-managed higher-risk women, and 46% performed vacuum-assisted deliveries or were first assistants at cesarean sections. Forty-eight percent of CNMs did not bill in their own names, and only 12% had full hospital privileges. The most common sources of conflict in CPs were clinical practice issues (100% ever encountered), power inequities (92%), financial issues (66%), and gender relations (58%). Collaborative practice is a common form of practice for CNMs and suggests a model for collaboration in other sectors of the health care system. Future research should explore methods of reducing the potential for conflict between CNMs and physicians.