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Midwifery Data Collection: Options and Opportunities

Authors

  • Deborah S. Walker CNM, DNSc, WHNP-BC, FNP-BC,

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    • Deborah S. Walker, CNM, DNSc, WHNP-BC, FNP-BC, FACNM, is an associate professor at Wayne State University College of Nursing and School of Medicine, OB/GYN, Detroit, MI and the graduate program director for the Nurse-Midwife and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Specialties. She is a member of the ACNM Division of Research (DOR), past chair of the ACNM DOR Data and Information Management Section and chair of the Directors of Midwifery Education (DOME).

  • Joan M. Visger CNM, MSN,

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    • Joan M. Visger, CNM, MSN, is a doctoral student at Wayne State University College of Nursing in Detroit, MI.

  • Amy Levi CNM, PhD

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    • Amy Levi, CNM, PhD, FACNM, is an associate clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco and Interim Director, Nurse-Midwifery Education Program. Dr. Levi is the current Chair of the ACNM Division of Research.


Deborah S. Walker, CNM, DNSc, WHNP-BC, FNP-BC, FACNM, Wayne State University, College of Nursing and School of Medicine, OB/GYN, 5557 Cass Ave., Rm. 248, Detroit, MI 48202. E-mail: dswalker@wayne.edu

Abstract

Most midwives are aware of the need to collect clinical practice data and of its usefulness in supporting the care they provide, which contributes to healthy outcomes for mothers and babies. For the individual midwife, there is more than one easily accessible, standardized data collection instrument from which to choose. However, despite these choices, in an American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Division of Research (DOR) survey on midwifery clinical data collection (N = 263), the majority of member respondents (n = 135; 51%) reported using a self-designed data collection tool, and more than one-third did not know of the ACNM Nurse-Midwifery Clinical Data Sets (NMCDS). On a larger scale, the midwifery profession is also in need of an organized and consistent approach to data collection for the purpose of capturing midwifery practice and outcomes in order to provide data to support legislation, practice, and policy changes. However, the profession currently lacks a single common midwifery practice database. In order to facilitate data aggregation that captures a larger view of midwifery practice at the local, regional, and national levels, it is imperative that all midwives collect relevant data that are uniform and standardized, and that the midwifery professional organizations move forward with the development of a common electronic database. This article describes currently available data collection tools as well as their best uses, applications to practice, and future directions.

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