Journey women: a narrative inquiry exploring the employability experiences of newly qualified midwives

Crozier, Suzanne (2023) Journey women: a narrative inquiry exploring the employability experiences of newly qualified midwives. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This thesis presents a narrative inquiry that explores the experiences of newly qualified midwives [NQM] as they enter employment within the NHS in England at a time when retention of midwives within the workforce is of critical concern (RCM, 2022). Policy and professional standards for midwives focus on the acquisition of skills and the development of personal attributes as the means to best prepare students to enter the workforce (HEE, 2022; NMC, 2019). I argue, however, that becoming a midwife comprises more than the possession of certain skills and attributes. This argument draws on the wider literature that explores graduate employability (Holmes, 2013, 2015) and, in doing so, provides a new lens through which to approach the education and employment of midwives.

I have used narrative inquiry (Wang & Geale, 2015) to capture the stories told by five participants about their experiences of becoming a midwife as a student, and in the two years following graduation. Findings illustrate a shared temporal storyline which reflects the genre of a quest narrative featuring a challenge or an ordeal that must be faced to enable completion of the journey to become a midwife once qualified. The individual stories of each participant were ‘re-told’ (McCormack, 2004), to illustrate the quest through five stages: the call, the threshold, the crossroads, the road of trials and the return. Detailed analysis of the participants’ stories draws attention to the employability perspectives of graduate skills, social position, and the process of identity development illustrated through the plot elements of the quest.

The study concludes that, in order to address the retention of NQM in the NHS workforce, employability theory can provide a useful and comprehensive understanding of what it means to ‘become a midwife’. A story archetype is proposed which reflects the journey to becoming a midwife and offers additional perspective on the experiences of Newly Qualified Midwives.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: professional identity, workforce retention, communities of practice, story archetypes, narrative inquiry
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
N600 Human Resource Management
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Business Administration
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2023 09:28
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2023 09:31

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