Background: Internationally qualified midwives comprise approximately 13% of the Australian midwifery workforce. Despite their central role in the Australian midwifery system, understanding of their transitional experiences is limited. Aim: To explore the transitional experiences of internationally qualified midwives practising in Australia. Method: A descriptive qualitative study was undertaken, as the second phase of a larger mixed methods study. In this paper we present in-depth insights from 11 internationally qualified midwives practising in Australia. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted between May–August 2018, digitally recorded and then transcribed. Transcriptions were analysed using a thematic analysis approach. Findings: Participants in this study identified that the different culture of the work environment, differences in midwifery practice, lack of autonomy in their practice and perceived discrimination influenced their transition into Australian midwifery practice. Four themes were identified: ‘Differences in midwifery practice’, ‘Cultural incongruence’, ‘Discrimination’ and ‘Mixed emotions’. Discussion: Success during the complex transition process depends on the migrant midwives’ ability to build a sense of belonging, and to develop and adopt strategies that assist in dealing with new workplaces and an unfamiliar workforce. Conclusion: A structured transition program prior to commencing practice, as well as an evidence-based workplace mentorship program with a focus on Australian midwifery care and culture, may be effective strategies to facilitate their transition. To promote awareness of multiculturalism within the work environment, this study recommends actively encouraging host staff to further develop perspectives that enable them to create positive relationships with staff from other cultures.
- Internationally qualified midwives
- Transitional experiences