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Krista Robertson


Satisfaction with in-patient maternity care within the Military Healthcare System (MHS) continues to score significantly below national benchmarks when compared to civilian hospitals and doctors. Lack of independent, qualitative research in this area has left the MHS with few answers as to why patients are satisfied, but still unhappy, with specific aspects of care. Discrepancy theory was used in conjunction with grounded theory as the foundation and framework for understanding the expectations and experiences of women who have given birth in the MHS within the past year. Using grounded theory and a hermeneutical approach to interview participants, qualitative data were collected to understand these women's expectations, experiences, and satisfaction. Participants were active duty dependents who had given birth within the last year at a local hospital and used TRICARE as their only insurance. They were recruited through the base's local community online network and 12 women total participated. Data were carefully analyzed using transcriptions and were subsequently grouped into common patterns, and then into themes. Findings revealed 3 key themes: (a) participants had one or more complaints or complications with their maternity care; (b) previous experiences on standard care were mostly negative, and (c) differences in satisfaction may be seen when a patient's personal experiences and beliefs about an occurrence are met or excused. This study contributes to social change by adding previously unexplored qualitative data to the military healthcare community in a population that had not been investigated in this manner and has the potential to increase understanding about the population, as well as how experiences, expectations, and satisfaction coexist.

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