Social Management

Explore the Issue of assertiveness and the importance of this for midwives.

The Oxford Dictionary defines assertiveness as: Asserting oneself, being forthright and positive. Hermes states that assertive behaviour Involves standing up for personal rights and expressing thoughts, feelings and beliefs in direct, honest, and appropriate ways which do not violate another person’s rights. The purpose of assertive behaviour is to communicate ideas, feelings and needs clearly without being aggressive and in the appropriate way not to humiliate or degrade the other person. It is an area that has a long history of study, dating back to Salter (1949) and Wolpe (1958) who studied a great deal in the field of behaviour. There has also been great volumes of research conducted into assertion training. Rakos (1997) pointed out that “ assertion is a learned skill, not a “trait”

Historically Midwifery has seen many changes, in 1902 the Midwives Act became law and Midwifery became an established profession in Britain. Midwives underwent supervised training and registration. However, it was not until the 1970’s that the chairmanship of the statutory body, the Central Midwives Board, passed to a midwife. (Murphy-Black 1995)
Poroch & McIntosh (1995) suggested that in the past midwives and nurses were submissive helpers of doctors. The Changing Childbirth Act (DOH 1993) challenged the government to address the access to maternity services to give women the power to make real and informed choices about their maternity care.   Over the years the changing social status of women has been reflected in the many changes within the profession. Assertive behaviour has been an essential communication tool for women in pursuing equality. The reason I have chosen this subject is my unfamiliarity with assertiveness and therefore need to explore the subject to enhance my clinical care through the use of assertive skills.

As midwives working within a professional team, using assertiveness...