Introduction: Midwives in Papua New Guinea have a vital role to play in addressing the high maternal and neonatal mortality rate. Attracting applicants in sufficient numbers and quality to study midwifery has been challenging in some countries.
Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the motivation of students to study midwifery in Papua New Guinea. Findings from this study will assist in midwifery workforce recruitment and retention.
Methods: Between 2012-2014, midwifery students (n=298) from the four midwifery schools in Papua New Guinea were surveyed and interviewed on their perceptions regarding their midwifery studies. One part of the data collection process asked the students to describe their motivation to become a midwife with the question: Why did you choose to study midwifery? A content and thematic analysis was undertaken.
Results: 194 (65% response rate) students provided between 1-3 different responses to the question, making a total of 246 responses. Three main themes emerged which were recognising a public need; recognising professional needs; and, building upon experience.
Discussion: Forty-one percent (n=101) of midwifery students in Papua New Guinea studied midwifery because they wanted to help lower the high maternal mortality in the country. This is a unique finding reflecting the reality of maternal and child health in Papua New Guinea and is of great contrast to the motivations of midwifery students in similarly low to middle income countries in the region and globally.
Keywords: Papua New Guinea; midwifery; motivation; students; qualitative research
Word Count: 3449Number of tables: 2