Nurses’ Responses to Changes in Maternity Care, Part II. Technologic Revolution, Legal Climate, and Economic Changes

Authors

  • Sheila Taylor Myers R.N., M.S.N.,

    1. Sheila Taylor Myers is Assistant Professor and Karen Stolte is Professor in the College of Nursing of the University of Oklahoma, 1100 N. Stonewall, Oklahoma City, OK 73190
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Karen Stolte R.N., Ph.D.

    1. Sheila Taylor Myers is Assistant Professor and Karen Stolte is Professor in the College of Nursing of the University of Oklahoma, 1100 N. Stonewall, Oklahoma City, OK 73190
    Search for more papers by this author

  • This study was partially funded by Beta Delta Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau.

  • The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Jean McClaskey, R.N., M.N., Pittsburgh State University Department of Nursing, in data collection.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Nurses’ responses to changes in obstetric technology, the legal climate, and economic pressures in maternity care were collected by means of a five-question, open-ended interview from 59 nurses practicing in 10 hospitals in Oklahoma and Kansas. The method and sample are described in Part I of this article. Forty-eight of the nurses said that technologic advances have reduced job stress, raised professional status, increased interdisciplinary contacts, and either raised or lowered workloads. Defensive use of procedures in obstetrics has increased the need for charting and many other nursing duties not related to caring for patients. At the same time, anxiety and anger at the idea of being vulnerable to lawsuit for years after each birth did negatively affect some nurses’ attitudes toward their jobs and their patients. Despite the need for greater vigilance and more procedures, nurse-patient staffing ratios are dropping in some hospital maternity units, while nurses are expected to market hospital services and help develop innovative programs.

Ancillary