How Do Expert Labor Nurses View Their Role?
Article first published online: 9 MAR 2006
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing
Volume 32, Issue 6, pages 814–823, November 2003
How to Cite
James, D. C., Simpson, K. R. and Knox, G. E. (2003), How Do Expert Labor Nurses View Their Role?. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 32: 814–823. doi: 10.1177/0884217503258548
- Issue published online: 9 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 9 MAR 2006
- Accepted: May 2003
- Expert nurse;
- Intuitive nursing care;
- Labor and birth outcomes;
- Nurse-managed labor;
- Nursing autonomy;
- Patient advocacy
Objective: To examine how expert perinatal nurses in a nurse-managed labor model view their role in caring for mothers during labor and birth.
Design: Focus group methodology. Data were analyzed using inductive coding methods to gain understanding from the perspective of those providing the care.
Setting: Labor and birth units in four large Midwestern medical centers.
Participants: Fifty-four expert labor nurses. Inclusion criteria: 5 years experience in nursing care during labor and birth in institutions where nurse-managed labor was the predominant practice model.
Results: Four common themes related to nursing roles were identified. These included knowing the labor process and the intuitive nature of nursing care provided by expert labor nurses based on years of experience, knowing the woman and letting her body guide labor, advocacy for laboring woman, and the autonomous nature of the nurse-managed labor model.
Conclusions: Expert labor nurses developed a keen sense of intuitive knowledge based on their years of experience. They reported using hands-on high-touch supportive care techniques with the potential to affect labor and birth outcomes. Autonomy is perceived as a key component of practice within the nurse-managed labor model.