Midwives in New Zealand are expected to give feedback forms to all the women they care for. The forms are returned to the midwife so she can reflect on the care she has given women. This reflection becomes part of the midwife's Review process - the midwife is also expected to submit the forms to the Review Committee so the committee can comment.
My feedback for 2006
I received five feedback forms in 2006. Most of the feedback was excellent. My favorite was this comment:
"Brilliant. 2nd time with this midwife who I trust immensely"
However, one woman did have a few problems with the way I communicated with her. Whilst she felt my care when she was in labour was good, she felt I didn't always listen to or understand her, nor did I adequately individualize her care.
How to respond to feedback
Receiving feedback as a midwife can be difficult at times because it is so personal. On the whole I do a very good job but every now and again, things do not go as well as I would like. Sometimes it is difficult to tease out what feedback one should act on, and what is a personality clash. So what I look for in feedback is themes - if a comment keeps cropping up, then I know this is something I must respond to.
When a woman says I have not communicated appropriately, this is something I must pay attention to. I do not believe this is a theme in my practice and my feedback reflects this. However, appropriate communication is a key element of midwifery practice so it is important I remain vigilant to ensure my standards do not drop.
If you are a health professional, how do you gather feedback from the people you care for? As a health consumer, how do you give feedback to your doctor/nurse/midwife?