A woman's hand and a lion's heart: skills and attributes for rural midwifery practice in New Zealand and Scotland

Andrea Gilkison, Jeanie Rankin, Mary Kensington, Rea Daellenbach, Lorna Davies, Ruth Deery, Susan Crowther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
187 Downloads (Pure)


The complex and challenging nature of rural midwifery is a global issue. New Zealand and Scotland both face similar ongoing challenges in sustaining a rural midwifery workforce, and understanding the best preparation for rural midwifery practice. This study aimed to explore the range of skills, qualities and professional expertise needed for remote and rural midwifery practice.

Online mixed methods: An initial questionnaire via a confidential SurveyMonkey® was circulated to all midwives working with rural women and families in New Zealand and Scotland. A follow-up online discussion forum offered midwives a secure environment to share their views about the specific skills, qualities and challenges and how rural midwifery can be sustained. Data presented were analysed using qualitative descriptive thematic analysis.

Setting and participants
222 midwives participated in this online study with 145 from New Zealand and 77 from Scotland.

Underpinning rural midwifery practice is the essence of ‘fortitude’ which includes having the determination, resilience, and resourcefulness to deal with the many challenges faced in everyday practice and to safeguard midwifery care for women within their rural communities.

Key conclusions
Rural midwives in New Zealand and Scotland who work in rural practice specifically enhance skills such as preparedness, resourcefulness and developing meaningful relationships with women and other colleagues which enables them to safeguard rural birth.

Implications for practice
Findings will inform the preparation of midwives for rural midwifery practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-116
Early online date19 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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