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Midwives report high levels of burnout, severe depression

There is a high prevalence of personal and work-related burnout, depression, anxiety, and stress among Australia’s midwives, new research has found.

Published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, the study gathered responses from over 1000 nurses and measured them against the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory and the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale.

The authors found that almost two thirds of midwives surveyed reported personal burnout, whilst over 40 percent reported work-related burnout and around 10 per cent reported client-related burnout.

Around a fifth of midwives surveyed reported anxiety and stress symptoms, as well as moderate, severe or extreme levels of depression.

The research team said: “Exploring levels of burnout, depression, anxiety and stress within the midwifery population is important to better understand and address the development of responses to the stressful nature of their work and workplace demands.”

Nursing Review sat down with study co-author Jennifer Fenwick, professor of midwifery at Griffith University and clinical chair at Gold Coast University Hospital, to find out what causes burnout and the factors affecting the mental health of midwives.

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