What I want in my working environment
I hate fluorescent lights because they give me a headache. I want to be able to safely lock my possessions away, and have somewhere I can go for a quiet cup of tea and chat. I want to be able to dim lights for labouring women, but I also want good, flexible lighting so I can see clearly when I am doing important tasks like suturing. The most important environmental thing for me is that I can carry out tasks like catch a baby, suturing or support a woman to breastfeed in an ergonomic position in which my back is supported.
What the literature says
Symon et al (2008) found that midwives want their working environment to be clean and secure, with appropriate changing facilities. They also want good lighting, and good ventilation that will reduce cross infection.
Cross (1996) reported that midiwves wanted their working environment to be secure to prevent babies being snatched, and protect themselves against harassment and violent attacks from the general public.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2008) recommends these environmental features for health professionals:
- convenient placements of sinks, soap dispensers etc to encourage hand-washing (to prevent cross-infection)
- acoustic conditions to minimize noise pollution
- ergonomic work spaces to prevent physical injury
- excellent lighting to areas where there could be a risk of needle-stick injury.
Cross, R. (1996). Midwives and Management. Hale: Books for Midwives.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2008). Environmental Change Recommendations for Ensuring an Optimal Health Care Workplace. Retrieved 13 January, 2009, from http://www.rwjf.org/pr/product.jsp?id=28827
Symon, A., Paul, J., Butchart, M., Carr, V., & Dugard, P. (2008). Maternity unit design study part 4: midwives’ perceptions of staff facilities. British Journal of Midwifery 16, 4, 228- 231.
Image: 'Ward at Alpha Hospital' tahitianlime