Kathryn Carr, CNM, MSN
Candidate for Region I Representative
See Kathryn's CV here
Question: What challenges to midwifery practice have you observed/experienced either nationally or in your region and what solutions would you suggest or implement to eliminate that challenge to midwifery practice?
Answer: Everyday barriers exist to identifying and working toward strategic goals to overcome midwifery practice challenges. Midwives work long weeks, nights, holidays, put in extra hours for special projects, and cover for each other, all while juggling family and community responsibilities. Under these circumstances it is challenging for midwives to take the time to gain better perspective on, and prioritize, their own practice challenges as well as to identify opportunities to contribute in ways that work for them and bring value to the integrated whole. We need to “midwife midwives” through establishing their own strategic goals and integrating teamwork and leadership to generate ongoing progress.
Midwives are stretched thin, but we are also problem solvers with unselfish intentions, brilliant minds, and a deep commitment to doing good. Lack of spare time and difficulty investing in the creation and implementation of more efficient systems are challenges to improving practice environments in Massachusetts and across the country. Fortunately, midwives have such a variety of skills and attributes that we can do anything we put our minds to. The challenges are taking the time to step back, identifying goals, building the team, allocating jobs that midwives can do and have time for, pushing through barriers that arise, and communicating and executing well. Every midwife brings something unique and valuable to the table. Through support and leadership training, I will work to help midwives prioritize and achieve their goals even more efficiently and sustainably.
A well-organized and supported team of midwives has unparalleled resources and power on a local, national, and international scale. Perspective, organization, communication, and support allow us to midwife each other to overcome challenges large and small in the pursuit of providing access to excellent care for all women, children, and families.
Candidate Interview with ACNM Student Representative
Tell us in 1-2 sentences why you want to serve on the board.
I love being involved: I love knowing what is coming down the pipeline and getting others involved, and I want to know what all the fun is about.
Why do you think you are a good fit for the role of Region Representative?
I know many midwives in region 1, I’ve learned a lot from previous region reps, I know a little history, and I have a humble sense of the complexity of some of the delicate issues that impact how the College functions: Issues, such as homebirth, professional identity as midwives and/or nurses, and interprofessional issues with physicians and advanced practitioners. I could hit the ground running and deliver value to midwives in the region.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I like to get things done, to make changes while preserving the good that exists within an organization. I know that too much change can be disruptive and I value diplomacy alongside change.
I love to get to know people, to hear what gets them excited and what are their constraints. I strive to help individuals align their contributions with their internal motivations and their situation to help them contribute in ways that sustain them but don’t create burnout. I don’t believe people go the extra mile for me, but for their colleagues and clients; that is the energy I like to harness.
What do you consider the greatest priority in your region, and how would you specifically engage with your region if elected?
I want to help midwives achieve their goals despite everyday barriers to working to the full extent of our scope. We need to midwife each other through establishing tailored strategic goals and integrating teamwork and leadership to generate ongoing progress. One way I approach this is by serving as a connector.
What do you see as ACNM’s greatest current challenge? What strategies would you advocate for ACNM to address this challenge?
ACNM’s greatest challenge is the culture of women’s health care in the United States.
Midwives provide a valuable service, we provide excellent care, and our costs are lower because we use fewer resources. Our greatest challenge has been and remains market forces for our services. We have never been stronger nor in a better position than we are right now. When more woman demand our services, more midwives will have sustainable businesses, more midwives will be hired, more hospitals will want our services, and hospitals will want us to have equitable reimbursement across the board, so that they can keep their doors open. Hospitals and colleagues will insist that we practice to the full extent of our scope, helping to fill the workforce gap. Changing the culture is our biggest challenge, but we are well on our way.
Our Moment Of Truth is one of ACNM’s babies: It is a tool for consumers to promote midwifery as the norm for women’s health care. BirthTOOLS.org is an ACNM tool for clinicians to promote best practices in labor, like the healthy birth initiative to reduce primary c-section rates. A huge membership push is underway to expand resources at the national office to support midwifery practice and enhance wellness for every woman. We are ripe with potential.
How do you envision this position on the Board enhancing your own skills?
I hope the board will help me think about how to ask the questions that I don’t know. I am excited about the work of the Inclusion and Diversity task force and want to hear from midwives who may feel marginalized, or like they are not being heard, and get them back to the table, because the voices most difficult to hear may be some of the most valuable. I continue to be humbled by, and in awe of, the amazing things midwives and our supporters do every day in the US and abroad. By serving on the board I hope to improve my ability to help midwives get things done by leveraging the amazing community and resources around us.