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Journal of Nursing Research and Practice

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Arts and science in modern-day midwifery practice

Author(s): Natasha Stewart*

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) oversees current midwifery practice. The NMC's primary goal is to protect the public by establishing standards for education and practice and enforcing rules and norms that govern fitness to practice, conduct, and performance. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence created and implemented evidence-based guidelines based on hierarchies of evidence, with meta-analyses and systematic reviews regarded as the "gold standard."  This positivist epistemological approach, which places scientific evidence at the top of a knowledge hierarchy, ignores the 'art of midwifery,' in which reflective practitioners apply a constructivist paradigm of experienced, intuitive, and tacit knowledge to offer high-quality care. Is the core of midwifery practice, being 'with woman' and delivering holistic care, under attack as the demand for a systematic and analytical approach to decision-making gains traction.

 


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