Introduction Research Problem
In Saudi Arabia, there is a deficiency of midwife nurses compared to the general nurses, and this makes it difficult for nurses to be hired and midwives. Due to the shortage, the available midwives often work for longer periods of time, and thus, there is a need for more in the hospitals and healthcare centers. For this reason, the purpose of this research is to explore the various factors and causes for the shortage of midwives, and therefore, highlight the need for improving the quality of midwifery education in Saudi Arabia. Essentially, this is by proposing the implementation of a better curriculum, mainly by improving the current one for a nurse-midwife undergraduate. The improved curriculum will be important in meeting the needs of Saudi health organizations, as well as the community, mainly by providing the community with high-quality midwife nurses.
The deficit of midwife nurses, which is mainly attributed to the lack of adequate education programs and midwifery standards. Also, there is the absence of support for the midwives as they undertake their duties, which is further exacerbated by the fact that there is the unavailability of midwifery research coupled with the slow development of the profession (Howaida, Nadia, & Jehan, 2012). As a result, we have a problem of severe shortage of midwives in comparison to the general nurses. The main reason for not having educational programs for midwives is mainly because Saudi Arabia has a shortage of general nurses, and thus, the country mainly focuses on increasing the number of general nurses, but a similar attention is not given to midwife nurses. Therefore, in my research, I will propose a solution for this problem by developing a new and improved curriculum for nurse midwife. I think the nurse midwife graduate can work in all nursing departments at the hospital and in obstetrics and gynecology sectors with high quality and efficiency. For this reason, the research topic will be developing curriculum for nurse midwife as an effective investment to improve quality of patient care.
The World Health Organization (WHO, 2011; 2012) that the main reason attributed to maternal mortality rate (MMR) includes inadequate coverage of antenatal care, insufficient essential obstetric care, and lack of trained assistance at delivery. Therefore, skilled midwives in natal, antenatal, as well as postnatal care is one of the key interventions meant for reducing prenatal and maternal mortality. The Saudi Ministry of Health initiated the 1980s midwifery, but the program was unable to continue (Altaweli, McCourt, & Baron, 2014). In effect, only a few graduated as qualified midwives. In fact, the majority of Saudi nurses work in antenatal, postnatal, and labor departments are not well-trained midwives.
Therefore, the higher education leaders aim to produce more general nurses to cover this deficit and forget about midwives in the country. They argue that the midwives are not nurses, and thus, they cannot cover the nurses shortage in other hospital areas if needed. In contrary, they strongly believe that the nurses can cover the places of midwives after having some midwifery training after graduation (Howaida et al., 2012). This can be true to some extent, but cannot be the solution to the midwifery problem in Saudi Arabia. In fact, the general nurse cannot provide high-quality care as a midwife academic graduate will do.
Another factor that exacerbates the problem is that the Saudi Arabia healthcare system is mainly staffed by healthcare professionals who are recruited from all over the world, including countries such as the Philippines, South Africa, Europe such as the UK, the USA, Malaysia, and other Arab countries (Altaweli et al., 2014). The personnel hired may have different qualifications to fill the critical gap in the number of Saudi health professions in meeting nursing and medical workforce needs.
For this reason, a new program is needed to train native Saudi midwife nurses who have the professional capability of undertaking natal, antenatal, and postnatal responsibilities. According to Sweidan et al. (2008), during childbirth, both social and professional supports are important, and thus, incorporating the new curriculum is paramount. They should be able to support women in childbirth as Hodnett et al. (2007) highlighted that who had continuous support during labor are more likely to have slightly shorter labor, be more satisfied, have a better childbirth experience, as well as have a lesser likelihood of having pain medications.
As such, the research gap is that there has not been substantial research pertaining to the inclusion of a better curriculum that will mitigate the problem of shortage in midwives in Saudi Arabia. Proposing a new curriculum is vital as it will ensure that more graduates pursue midwife curriculum, and upon graduating, eliminate the shortage, as well as eliminate to hire midwives from other countries.
What are the factors that contribute to the shortage of local midwives in Saudi Arabia?
What are the risk factors for women and newborns that could be mitigated by a new curriculum?
What are the aspects that should be included in the proposed new curriculum for midwife nurses to eliminate the risk factors?
What is the importance of new curriculum for midwife nurses?
Altaweli, R. F., McCourt, C. & Baron, M. (2014). Childbirth care practices in public sector facilities in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: A descriptive study. Midwifery, 30(7), pp. 899-909. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2014.03.006
Hodnett, E. D., Gates, S., Hofmeyr, G. J., & Sakala, C. (2007). Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, (3).
Howaida A., Nadia A. & Jehan M., (2012). Competence of Midwives versus Non-Midwives Nurses Regarding Postnatal Care in Saudi Arabia. Journal of American Science 2012, 8(12), 217-222
Sweidan, M., Mahfoud, Z., DeJong, J., (2008). Hospital policies and practices concerning normal childbirth in Jordan. Studies in Family Planning, 39, 59-68.
World Health Organization (WHO), 2011. World Health Statistics. Accessed May 25, 2013. Available at: http://www.who.int/whosis/whostat/EN_WHS2011_Full.pdf
World Health Organization (WHO), 2012. World Health Statistics. Accessed May 25, 2013. Available at: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/44844/1/9789241564441_eng.pdf
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