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Strengthening human resources for abortion care: The Providers Share workshop

Lisa Harris, University of Michigan, 2009

Project abstract

Our goal is to strengthen human resources for abortion care. In this study we test hypotheses generated in our pilot study of the Providers Share workshop.

Providers Share is a supportive group intervention in which participants use discussion, journaling, and artwork to share experiences of abortion work and its impact on emotional lives and relationships. Outside of abortion, there is extensive literature documenting need for supportive interventions for workers in helping professions. Abortion providers face highly unique stresses, including being targets of violence, harassment, and restrictive legislation.

To date, the focus of human resources for abortion care has been on educating and training new physician providers. Psychosocial needs of providers (or other caregivers in the abortion team) have received scant attention in the medical literature, but may be related to provision of abortion services after training.

In our pilot study of the Providers Share workshop, we observed that participants experienced heightened sense of “team,” resulting in improved well-being, enhanced work satisfaction, and decreased feeling of burden. In this study, we will expand and evaluate the impact of Providers Share in six diverse US settings. We will measure work satisfaction, coping strategies, and sense of “team” immediately before and after the intervention, and one year after its completion using Professional Quality of Life Survey; Ways of Coping Scale; Potency, Social Support, Workload Sharing and Communication/Cooperation Scale; and the People and Organizational Culture Profile. If we demonstrate a lasting positive effect of the workshop, Providers Share could be widely disseminated.

Our pilot work also revealed that clinical service leaders who do not directly provide abortion care nevertheless feel its unique burdens. Therefore, we will also conduct exploratory interviews with abortion services leaders to determine appropriate supportive interventions for them.

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