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How do power and hierarchy influence staff safety in maternity services?

journal contribution
posted on 14.09.2021, 07:55 by Helen Elliott-Mainwaring
Background
There are considerable tensions for healthcare staff between their employee allegiance and contracts, patient safety, and their responsibilities to codes of conduct within professional registration, and the NHS Constitution.

Aims
The research aim was to identify how power and hierarchy influence staff safety in maternity services and this was achieved by reviewing research papers concerned with personal narratives of staff experiences and perspectives of employment in their profession.

Methods
This systematic narrative review was based on the approach of a narrative synthesis, with papers coded using Nvivo software.

Findings
Power and hierarchy influence staff safety in maternity services by creating challenges to staff safety, which appear to essentially derive from poor communication. The workplace adversity described by participants seems to be linked with 1) psychological vulnerability 1.1) anxiety about the job, and 1.2) dysfunctional relationships, alongside 2) working conditions 2.1) poor organisational and structural conditions 2.2) institutional normalisation of dysfunctional relationships and 2.3) interpersonal elements feeding into an obstructive culture.

Conclusion
The negative influences of the cultural concepts of power and hierarchy on staff safety are significant within maternity services. Disconfirmation findings, those which stood out as different from the rest, evidenced the possibilities that healthy, psychologically safe working conditions could offer for healthcare staff in improving their prevailing culture.

History

Citation

British Journal of Midwifery VOL. 29, NO. 8

Author affiliation

Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

British Journal of Midwifery

Volume

29

Issue

8

Pagination

430 - 439

Publisher

Mark Allen Group

issn

0969-4900

eissn

2052-4307

Copyright date

2021

Available date

04/02/2022

Language

en