Course Title: Trends and Issues in Midwifery

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Trends and Issues in Midwifery

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014

Course Coordinator: Dr Jennifer James

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6650

Course Coordinator

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Registered as a Division 1 Nurse in Victoria

Course Description

This course explores the historical evolution of midwifery and midwifery practice together with contemporary and future directions for midwifery care and practice from a global, national and local perspective. Changing political, economic, professional and societal trends continue to shape and change midwifery practice. Women, families and midwives concerns with birthing options will be analysed and alternative models for effective care in pregnancy, labour and birth and the postnatal period will be explored. The expanded role of the midwife as primary carer for well women will be examined. This course will also give an overview of the role and responsibilities of the midwife within legal and ethical boundaries.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Legal and Professional Practice

  • Functions in accordance with legislation and common law affecting midwifery practice;
  • Accepts accountability and responsibility for own actions within midwifery practice.

Midwifery Knowledge and Practice

  • Communicates information to facilitate decision-making by the woman;
  • Promotes safe and effective midwifery care;
  • Assesses, plans, provides and evaluates safe and effective midwifery care;
  • Assesses, plans, provides and evaluates safe and effective midwifery care for the women and/or baby with complex needs.

Midwifery as Primary Health Care

  • Advocates to protect the rights of women, families and communities in relation to maternity care;
  • Develops effective strategies to implement and support collaborative midwifery practice;
  • Actively supports midwifery as a public health strategy;
  • Ensures midwifery practice is culturally safe.

Reflective and Ethical Practice

  • Bases midwifery practice on ethical decision making;
  • Identifies personal beliefs and develops these in ways that enhance midwifery practice;
  • Acts to enhance the professional development of self and others;
  • Uses research to inform midwifery practice.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) National Competency Standards for the Midwife (2006).

On completion of this course you should be able to:

  • critically examine the role and function of the midwife, midwifery and midwifery care from historical and contemporary perspectives;
  • interpret theoretical and practice models of care for childbearing women;
  • critique the politics of health-care and the impact of politics on childbearing women and the current and future practice of the midwife;
  • critically examine legal requirements and ethical issues within midwifery practice;
  • critically review the professional issues impacting on midwifery care;
  • explore management issues in midwifery practice.

Overview of Learning Activities

There is a range of learning requirements for this course that require different learning activities. Accordingly, a variety of planned student learning experiences will be utilized involving seminars, group discussion, on line activities, simulations and other interactive learning experiences. The seminar format will be used to give an overview of the specified study area and to direct you to foundational, critical, and evidence-based practice readings. Facilitated open discussions in the seminar context will draw on your own professional work and life experiences as well as prescribed readings for the course. This approach will enable you to share your clinical experiences and practice wisdom, to critique existing research literature and to explore and debate issues regarding midwifery practice.

Overview of Learning Resources

The entire course is supported by information, learning activities and resources via myRMIT Studies on the Midwifery Programs site. As well as enhanced learning opportunities, this forms part of the assessment through journal article critiques and internet site critique through which students are expected to participate in. The lecturers will continually monitor the journal and internet site critiques to give students ongoing feedback. Textbooks, journal articles and the electronic media also provide learning resources for students undertaking this course.

Overview of Assessment

In order to achieve the learning outcomes, you will need to be able to demonstrate midwifery judgments in relation to the learning objectives. You  will need to demonstrate that you can articulate and evaluate various issues in midwifery practice to address the broad range of descriptive objectives. This can be achieved in some form of verbal presentation, essay and on-line assessment where you will be able to provide evidence of your knowledge and application to midwifery practice issues.