The Dual Roles Challenge

The account of this article describes the first person perspective of being a peer midwife and a novice researcher initiating collaborative AR in her own organization to develop knowledge about the first encounters between the labouring woman and her care-givers in a hospital birthing context.

The insider action researcher explores how being a clinical nurse midwife and a novice insider action researcher can be summarized by the process of learning how to reflect clinically on and to voice the tacit components of care through a first person perspective. On the one hand she was trained and integrated into the prevailing risk-focused labour ward culture of her discipline and hospital and on the other hand, she understood the emotional and psychosocial stress that this culture generated for labouring women and their partners, especially when they first encountered the ward. She reflected on the challenge of the dual roles of being a change agent, a colleague and a researcher. Her challenge was to maintain her professionalism and credibility in the eyes of colleagues so as achieve the planned change in itself and to be able to continue the research study.

Questions for reflection and discussion

  • Can you identify with the role duality challenges faced by this insider action researcher?
  • In what roles are you finding yourself?
  • How are you crossing the boundaries between the organization and the scholarly community, and translating language from one community to the other?
  • How are your multiple roles an asset rather than a burden?

[2] Source: Insider action research as an approach and a method – Exploring institutional encounters from within a birthing context. Viola Nyman, Marie Berg, Soo Downe, & Terese Bondas. Action Research, 14 (2), 2016, 217–233.