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Focus Group: Midwives and Nurses

Focus Group: Midwives and Nurses

On March 1, Midwest Access Project convened a focus group of students and providers from the nursing and advanced practice clinician community. The discussion was facilitated by MAP board member Stephanie Tillman, CNM, MSN, Certified Nurse Midwife.  MAP hoped to learn about the community’s access, barriers, and need for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) training.

The group universally agreed that their SRH education and clinical training was deficient, biased, or nonexistent. One participant had no SRH content and was told, “we’re here for the babies.” This failure to train means many Family Nurse Practitioners are unsafe to provide any kind of women’s health care. One participant had ½ of 1 semester on women’s health, and the content was predominantly labor and child development.  She doesn’t remember ever discussing birth control during her education.

The group shared perspectives about barriers to training created by employer health care institutions and how that impacts patient care.

Focus group participants brainstormed many training needs and strategies to lower barriers to training. Examples include: training on how to provide patient centered care, how to deliver all-options contraception counseling, values clarification, methods of birth control, information and referral options for abortion care, and post-abortion care.  Networking opportunities to share resources in safe places was identified as a critical need as well.

Midwest Access Project appreciates the time our participants shared with us. MAP plans to incorporate the lessons learned into future programming for the nursing/advance practice clinician community.


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