Congratulations Dr Michelle Newton


Congratulations to Michelle Newton who graduated with her PhD in March 2014.

Michelle has been a midwife since 1993, and is the Course Coordinator of the Bachelor of Nursing / Bachelor of Midwifery at La Trobe University.

Her PhD was entitled Implementing caseload midwifery: exploring the views and experiences of midwives and key stakeholders. She was supervised by Helen McLachlan, Della Forster (in the picture to the left and the right) and Karen Willis.

Michelle's PhD study explored midwives and key stakeholders’ experiences of caseload midwifery, a model of care where women receive care from a known midwife throughout pregnancy, birth and early parenting. This project was undertaken at The Royal Women’s Hospital and Barwon Health, Geelong. Caseload was a very different way of working for midwives, involving an adjustment in the way that they organised their personal and professional lives.

Caseload provided midwives with flexibility, autonomy, and was satisfying. Burnout scores were also lower for caseload midwives than standard care midwives. Despite these positive findings, capacity to sustain the model from a workforce perspective was uncertain; with limited numbers of midwives willing to work in the model at the time of the study, with the on-call aspect of the model reported as the major barrier. Expansion and sustainability of the model will require further examination of factors that influence midwives’ decisions about working in caseload models.

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