Literature review: What are midwives perceived barriers to practising autonomouly in Australia.

Midwifery as an independent profession as described by Pairman & McAra-Couper (2006) is heavily synonymous with autonomy, relating directly to the midwife’s distinctive and unique practice, individual to that of nursing or obstetrics. This concept of autonomy denotes that midwives work within their scope of practice, and are both responsible and accountable for their professional judgements. While autonomy is recognised as a key feature in contemporary midwifery practice (Pairman & McAra-Couper, 2006), research has identified obstacles regarding its full attainment. This paper aims to explore the literature relating to the concept of autonomous midwifery practice and answer the question, what do midwives perceive as barriers to professional autonomy and realising one’s full scope of practice within Australia?


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