1. Hayman, Laura L. PhD, RN, FAAN
  2. Callister, Lynn Clark PhD, RN, FAAN

Article Content

Sinivaara, M., Suominen, T., Routasalo, P., & Hupli, M. (2004).Journal of Advanced Nursing, 46(1), 33-41

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This study documents the perceptions of 155 Finnish midwives and nurses regarding the exercise of power over women giving birth in four Finnish hospitals (Callister, Vehvilainen-Julkunen, & Lauri, 2000). Verbal power focused on how women were addressed and the style and tone of communication. Nonverbal power referred to touch, supportive actions, presence, and provision of privacy. Study participants described shared power between providers and birthing women and the provision of individualized care. Providing women with their preferred level of control is essential. Participants also described taking control when the health and well-being of the woman or her unborn child was in jeopardy. The importance of demonstrating respect and preserving the dignity of women in facilitating a trusting relationship was identified, as supported in the literature (Matthews & Callister, 2004;Miltner, 2002). According to Rosen (2004), "Overall, satisfaction with the birth experience is highly associated with continuous, individualized, and emotional support" (p. 30). Rather than emphases on perinatal morbidity and mortality, the increasing focus on psychosocial or "soft" outcomes of giving birth in the literature is exemplary. Lessons can be learned from our Finnish midwifery and nursing colleagues who utilize "supportive surveillance" and the judicious use of technology coupled with individualized support.


Comment by Lynn Clark Callister




Callister, L. C., Vehvillainen-Julkunen, K., & Lauri, S. (2000).AQi A description of birth in Finland. MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 25 (3), 146 - 150. [Context Link]


Matthews, R., & Callister, L. C. (2004). Childbearing women's perceptions of nursing care that promotes dignity. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 33 (44), 498 - 507. [Context Link]


Miltner, R. S. (2002). More than support: Nursing interventions provided to women in labor. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 31(6), 753 - 761. [Context Link]


Rosen, P. (2004). Supporting women in labor: Analysis of different types of caregivers. Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health, 49 (1), 24 - 31. [Context Link]