1. Beal, Judy A. DNSc, PNP, RN
  2. Wood, Sylvia H. MSN, CNM, RN

Article Content

Harriott, E. M., Williams, T. V., & Peterson, M. R. (2005).Birth,32, 1, 4-10.

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This article presents the findings of a very large government-funded study designed to examine women's evaluation of their maternity care and treatment within military hospitals and to identify aspects of care that women felt to be most important in recommending military hospitals to others. It serves as an excellent reminder to all of us about the importance that women place on being treated with dignity, being involved in decision making in their care, and having a trusting relationship with their care providers.


This study is based on the results of the Department of Defense Inpatient Childbirth Survey, which was conducted in January to February 2002 with women who gave birth in 1 of 44 military hospitals that offer obstetric care. This survey examined 11 dimensions of women's care and experiences including courtesy and availability of staff, confidence and trust in provider, treatment with respect and dignity, information and education, physical comfort, involvement of family and friends, continuity and transition, emotional support, and respect for patient preference. In addition, women were asked if they would recommend the hospital where they received care to their friends and family.


Using a simple stratified random sample, surveys were mailed to 6,650 women; 2,124 completed questionnaires were returned. Eight of the 11 dimensions were statistically significant predictors of unqualified willingness to recommend the hospital's obstetric care. Less than one half of those surveyed said they would recommend the hospital where they received care to their family or friends.


The three dimensions of care found to be associated with significantly higher overall evaluations of care were respect and dignity, involvement in decision making, and trust in healthcare providers. The authors concluded with the recommendation that staff and administrators at military hospitals devote attention and resources to these aspects of care and tailor educational programs associated with them.


Comment by Sylvia Wood