Effects of Education on Public Perception and Knowledge of Midwives in Rural Kansas
Farley, Cynthia L
This study assessed the Grant County, Kansas, public’s current perception and knowledge of the role of the midwife and determined the influence of education on their perception and knowledge. A pre and posttest design was used with a brief educational intervention on the role of the midwife in the United States. The intervention and survey were available in English and Spanish. A researcher developed online survey was implemented in the spring of 2020 on social media platforms focusing on adult residents of Grant County, Kansas. Participants 18 years or older residing in Grant County, KS, who read and write either English or Spanish were included. Participants were recruited through social media platforms, informal social networks, snowball sampling, and printed advertisements. Those who completed the pre and post surveys were all female, 50% English and 50% Spanish. Participants were asked a series of questions to judge their knowledge about midwives and the type of care they can provide. Questions were asked both before and after watching an educational video about midwifery. The pre- and post-video responses were compared using Wilcoxon signed ranks test. The majority of the sample had correct knowledge about midwives with regard to their role in maternity care prior to the educational video. Participants were aware of midwives providing education/advice to women and their families, specialized care and support for breastfeeding, emotional support to women, care during labor, care during birth, care immediately after the baby is born, and care in the community. Only about a third of respondents realized that midwives could provide basic primary care before seeing the video. After the video, 85.7% correctly marked this as true, a statistically significant increase (Z = 2.65, p = .008). The majority knew how to locate a midwife if they wanted one. Participants knew how to get information regarding midwives, 50% said internet search, 28.6% social media, and 14.3% their general practitioner. Other findings showed the midwife as loving, caring, passionate, supportive, knowledgeable, capable, and professional. Overall, participants gained new knowledge about the primary care role of the midwife with the educational intervention provided.
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