Collaboration in Virginia: ACOG, ACNM & VMA

An Assessment of Interprofessional Collaboration between Obstetricians, Certified Nurse-Midwives and Certified Professional Midwives in the State of Virginia

Laura Koehler, Susan Marmagas, Eileen Bill Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universit


Studies have shown that effective interprofessional collaboration can improve health outcomes in maternity care. However, there is currently a perceived lack of effective collaboration between maternity care providers in the state of Virginia, specifically between obstetricians (Ob-Gyns), Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs), and Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs). Research assessing how to improve relationships between these professions can improve outcomes for mothers and babies in Virginia. For this qualitative-quantitative study, informational interviews were conducted with leadership representatives from each organization (n=3) which informed the development of a survey administered to 1,398 Ob-Gyns, CNMs, and CPMs via email listservs for the professional organizations of each group; the Virginia Chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Virginia Chapter of the American College of Nurse Midwives, and the Virginia Midwives Alliance. The goals of the study were to assess the current state of interprofessional collaboration between the groups, specifically addressing the attitudes, knowledge, and beliefs among each group regarding the other, and what barriers exist that prevent the groups from working together. Data were analyzed using appropriate qualitative (thematic analysis) and quantitative approaches. Results indicated varying levels of satisfaction among the professional groups, highlighting communication, autonomy, and trust as significant barriers to collaboration. While barriers between Ob-Gyns and CNMs appear to stem primarily from personal and organizational issues, differences between Ob-Gyns and CPMs present a more significant issue regarding differing views on birth and medical care as a whole.