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

Article Content

MacKinnon, K., McIntyre, M., & Quance, M. ((2005).Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 34(1), 28-36.


There is an increasing body of literature documenting the pivotal nature of childbirth in the lives of women and the importance of nursing support for laboring women. According to Corbett and Callister (2000, p. 71) and confirmed by the work of Beck (2004a, b), "Few human experiences approach the intensity of emotions, stress, anxiety, pain and exertion that can occur during labor and birth. The events and interactions that take place during labor may also have far-reaching and powerful psychosocial consequences." MacKinnon, McIntyre, and Quance's phenomenologic study focused on the meaning of nursing presence during labor and birth to Canadian childbearing women. Since a previous randomized controlled trial did not document significant differences in women cared for by registered nurses during labor and birth (Hodnett et al., 2002), these authors wanted to approach the question of the nurse's role during labor differently by documenting the meaning of the nurse's presence during childbirth and the significance of having the nurse with laboring women during their childbirth experience. The results of this study showed that laboring women value physical presence, emotional support, and advocacy. Women wanted more than "safe passage"-they appreciated "enhanced passage." All nurses who work with laboring women should read the complete study to better inform intrapartum nursing care, including staffing patterns. Further research is indicated to describe the social and institutional context of caring for childbearing women and the outcomes of care practices.


Comment by Lynn Clark Callister

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Beck, C. T. (2004a). Birth trauma: In the eye of beholder. Nursing Research, 53 (1), 28-35. [Context Link]


Beck, C. T. (2004b). Post-traumatic stress disorder due to childbirth. Nursing Research, 53 (4), 216-224. [Context Link]


Corbett. C. A., & Callister, L. C. (2000). Nursing support during labor. Clinical Nursing Research, 9 (1), 70-83. [Context Link]


Hodnett, E., Lowe, N., Hannah, M., Willan, A., Stevens, B., Weston, J., et al. (2002). Effective of nurses as providers of birth support in North American hospitals. JAMA, 288 (11), 1373-1381. [Context Link]