Leadership and management preparation for midwives
: A mixed methods evaluation

  • Elizabeth Bannon

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Leadership and Management Preparation for Midwives: a mixed methods evaluation.

Two decades ago, Pashley (1998a) reviewed the literature relating to midwifery leadership and concluded that strong leadership models needed to be developed to ensure future care was women centred. Although there has been significant investment in NHS leadership and management development initiatives in the intervening years, concern has been raised about the impact in relation to quality improvement (Kings Fund, 2011; Kelly and Lee, 2017) and the role of the NHS Leadership Qualities Framework (LQF) (Bolden et al., 2003).

The aim of this study was twofold. Firstly, to explore senior midwife managers’ experience of leadership and related development in one region of the United Kingdom (UK) and secondly to explore the experiences of midwives who had undertaken leadership or management development.

This was a mixed methods study utilising survey, interviews and focus groups. All participants were employed in the NHS and ethical approval was granted. In total 69 midwives responded: 18 managers and 38 midwives completed an online questionnaire, 9 were interviewed, and 4 participated in a focus group. Quantitative data were entered into SPSS and analysed descriptively and using Chi-square where relevant. Qualitative data were transcribed into MS Word and analysed thematically.

Key themes were developed which included preparation for the role, experience of leadership, training, perceptions of leadership and management, characteristics and relevance of LQF (2007).

In maternity services, leadership and management are inextricably linked and it was evident that managers and leaders have a key role in talent spotting midwives and influencing career progression. The NHS Leadership Qualities framework (2007) was perceived to be of limited value. Midwives early in their career need support to gain insight and understanding of the management/leadership role. Development programmes need to be supplemented by the lived experience of leadership and management in practice.

Implications for Practice:
This study has identified that the approach to leadership and management development is limited. There is a need for additional approaches and opportunities to facilitate midwives to develop a range of practical skills in leadership and management.
Date of AwardDec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorFiona Alderdice (Supervisor) & Jennifer McNeill (Supervisor)


  • Midwifery
  • leadership & management
  • preparation for the role
  • relevance of LQF

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