SHORT REPORT
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
Midwifery practice, which contributes to the improvement of the health and well-being of mothers and infants, varies greatly across the world. In former Soviet Union countries, midwifery was developed in a context marked by the Soviet regime and often remains underdeveloped. However, it is now gaining momentum in several countries including Lithuania where midwives have gained some autonomy in the past years. This study aims to explore the professional identity of student-midwives in Lithuania.

Methods:
Semi-directed interviews were conducted with six student-midwives recruited in two educational institutions in Kaunas, Lithuania. The interviews addressed the respondents’ perception of midwifery in Lithuania as well as their personal experiences.

Results:
This study suggests that the participants view midwifery as a medical profession, strongly anchored in the biomedical world. Indeed, they associate midwifery with medicine and nursing, they greatly value their medical degree, and they associate their profession with the hospital setting. The respondents further defined their profession by emphasizing their holistic woman-centred approach, which sets them apart from other healthcare professions. These elements of the participants’ professional identity can be viewed as professionalization strategies used to better establish their profession within the field of maternal healthcare.

Conclusions:
These findings suggest that the participant student-midwives view midwifery as a medical profession, rooted in the biomedical field, but also characterized by a unique care approach. This exploratory study thus contributes to a better understanding of midwifery in Lithuania.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
The author has completed and submitted an ICMJE form for disclosure of potential conflicts of interest. The author declares that there are not competing interests, financial or otherwise, related to the current work. The author reports grants from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, during the conduct of the study; and the study was conducted in collaboration with the Cardiff University WHO Collaborating Centre for Midwifery Development, who provided administrative support.
FUNDING
This research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
PROVENANCE AND PEER REVIEW
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
 
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