As part of our MSc of Midwifery program at Queen’s University of Belfast, we were tasked with completing a quality improvement project and writing a dissertation.
My grandparents in the USA were 1st generation immigrants from Latin America, so I have always had a strong drive to implement change and advocate for issues surrounding ethnic minorities.
After commencing my midwifery program and learning about the statistics surrounding women from diverse communities in the UK and their outcomes, I knew I wanted to implement a project focused on improving the service for these women (Knight et al., 2021).This led me to the Sheffield Maternity Cooperative (SMC) and its Cultural Competency and Safety Workshop.
My quality improvement project aimed to improve midwives’ cultural competence with the workshop. By developing midwives’ cultural competence, they can better understand the needs of women from different cultural backgrounds, thus allowing them to provide more equitable and higher-quality care (Fair et al., 2021; Kaihlanen et al., 2019).
The workshop allowed for a safe and brave space for midwives to openly discuss sensitive topics such as privilege, biases, how to challenge racism, white allyship and action planning.
Cultural competence was evaluated pre- and post-training through descriptive statistics of an eleven-item questionnaire divided into three subscales (cultural awareness, cultural knowledge and cultural skill) and through content analysis of feedback from participating midwives. Midwives demonstrated an increase in all subscales, thus an improvement in overall cultural competence. Furthermore, the feedback from participating midwives was overwhelmingly positive.
Although the workshop is one small step towards a more equitable maternity service, it proved successful and meaningful. This project has now opened up further opportunities in the healthcare trust where it was completed. Among these activities are hosting more of these workshops and training facilitators.
The experience has developed me not only as a midwifery student but has further ignited my passion for doing more in the area of improving maternity services for marginalised groups.
The Iolanthe Trust made my ambition to bring this training to my local trust a reality.