Single Room Maternity Care Model: Unit Culture and Healthcare Team Practices


  • Elena Ali
  • Deborah White
  • Shelley Raffin Bouchal
  • Suzanne Tough


The evidence regarding the effects of a Single Room Maternity Care (SRMC) model on women’s childbirth experiences, healthcare providers’ workplace satisfaction, and cost outcomes remains equivocal. The research questions for this focused ethnographic study are: how is culture experienced by nurses and other healthcare providers on the SRMC unit, and how do the values, beliefs, and norms of nurses and other healthcare providers on the SRMC unit influence their day-to-day practices of caring for women and their families. The aim of this qualitative focused ethnography was to explore the culture and practices of the healthcare team in a SRMC unit. Twelve healthcare providers were recruited from a Single Room Maternity Care unit located in a Western Canadian hospital. Semi-structured interviews, participant observations, and examination of unit-related documents were conducted between October 2014 and January 2015. Data were analyzed using an approach by Roper and Shapira (2000). Two main themes emerged from the data: creating and maintaining culture and the work family. The participants considered themselves a family, and made collective and conscious efforts to create a unit culture where everyone could feel supported and valued. Unit culture determined the ways members of the healthcare team functioned in their day-to-day practice. Further research is required to explore the relationship between the maternity unit and quality of patient care, as well as the impact of collaborative practices on both providers and recipients of maternal care.