Processes of care. Comparisons of certified nurse-midwives and obstetricians

J Nurse Midwifery. 1995 Sep-Oct;40(5):399-409. doi: 10.1016/0091-2182(95)00053-m.


Prenatal and intrapartum care provided to 1,181 women, all meeting risk requirements for nurse-midwifery care, by certified nurse-midwives (n = 471) and obstetricians (n = 710) are compared using indicators of physical and of educational/psychosocial components of maternity care. Data are from clinical records and questionnaires completed by the women. Bivariate analyses show that the two provider groups differ on some, but not all, processes of care. When the woman's evolving health status, personal characteristics, and preferences are controlled, there are significant differences that confirm two models of care. The nurse-midwifery approach emphasizes educational/psychosocial care and restrained, individualized use of technology. The obstetrics approach emphasizes more routine use of state-of-the-art technology. This study contributes new information to substantiate different models but also shows that both provider groups use elements of both. The difference in emphasis should encourage collaborative practice, given the shared basis for maternity care, whether it is provided by certified nurse-midwives or obstetricians.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Certification
  • Choice Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Models, Nursing
  • Nurse Midwives / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Process
  • Obstetrics / organization & administration*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / organization & administration*
  • Pregnancy
  • Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires