Bridging the Gap: Teaching Ethics in Midwifery Practice


  • Anne Thompson RM, RN, MTD, BEd(hons)

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    • Anne Thompson, RM, RN, MTD, BEd(hons), has spent a professional lifetime in midwifery practice and education. Her early experience in Africa, and later at the Royal College of Midwives and the Safe Motherhood Team of the World Health Organization, as well as some years as Treasurer of the ICM, sharpened a sense of urgency regarding the need for respect for women's health care rights worldwide.

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Teaching is an integral part of all midwives' practice, wherever they work. Midwives face ethical issues of greater or lesser significance throughout their careers. In a multitude of different situations and cultures worldwide midwives confront, on a daily basis, the need to make or help others make critical decisions that will impact lives. Midwives need tools to address this reality constructively, consistently, and respectfully if they are to remain true to themselves. They need also to be able to transmit such skills to the students they teach and the women to whom they offer care. Translating ethical thought and reflection into action—bridging the theory-practice gap—is the perennial challenge. This article presents some of the tools available to professionals who take up the challenge of using ethical thinking to shape best practice in any setting.