Interventions to improve wellbeing among obstetricians and midwives at Cork University Maternity Hospital

Doctors-in-training and midwives in our study experienced high levels of burnout and compassion fatigue. End-of-shift meetings for midwives and team bonding sessions for doctors may positively impact on wellbeing, but are not feasible for implementation in their current format.

Sinead O'Riordan, Keelin O'Donoghue, Karen McNamara
Journal Name
Irish Journal of Medical Science
Journal Article
Staff support
Impact of adverse perinatal events on healthcare professionals
Full Citation
O’Riordan S, O’Donoghue K, McNamara K. Interventions to improve wellbeing among obstetricians and midwives at Cork University Maternity Hospital. Irish Journal of Medical Science. 2020;189(2):701-709.
Link to Publication


Stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue is experienced by those working in obstetrics and gynaecology. We investigated whether an intervention which increases support for staff is feasible to implement and effective. All doctors-in-training (DITs) (N?=?28) and midwives (N?=?69) working in the delivery suite in a tertiary university teaching maternity hospital were invited to participate. Wellbeing was assessed using questionnaires which were distributed pre-intervention and 6 months after implementation of the interventions which consisted of posters promoting self-care, team bonding sessions, and end of shift meetings. Eighteen (64%) DITs and 22 (31%) midwives returned pre-intervention questionnaires. Thirteen (18%) midwives returned post-intervention questionnaires, of which five (7%) returned both the pre-intervention questionnaire and the post-intervention questionnaire. DITs and midwives were experiencing high levels of burnout and compassion fatigue: 87% were experiencing emotional exhaustion pre-intervention. There was a statistically significant decrease in the Professional Quality of Life burnout score from pre-intervention to post-intervention. End of shift meetings were discontinued after five weeks due to low attendance; while providing opportunity for support and debriefing, the timing of these sessions impaired their long-term feasibility. These interventions may positively impact on wellbeing, but in current format, they are not feasible for long-term implementation.

Pregnancy Loss Research Group

Pregnancy Loss Research Group, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College Cork, Fifth Floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, T12 YE02, Ireland,