NURS 2018 Legal and Ethical Issues in Midwifery

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 401037

Coordinator Carole Doyle Opens in new window

Description This subject explores responsibilities related to the nature and professional context of midwifery. It focuses on developing students understanding of legal and ethical issues and the midwives obligation to work within ethical and legal frameworks for safe practice. The legal and ethical roles and functions of the midwife and their relationship to others are considered in terms of expected standard, responsibilities, accountabilities and scope of practice within the regulatory framework. It will provide an opportunity for students to explore and discuss ethical issues related to midwifery, reproductive and maternal health.

School Nursing & Midwifery

Discipline Midwifery

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 2 subject


Students must be enrolled in 4684 Bachelor of Midwifery.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Discuss the discipline of midwifery and the context of professional practice within the relevant legal and ethical frameworks.
  2. Describe the expected standards of practice for the midwife.
  3. Discuss the legal and ethical responsibilities of the midwife.
  4. Discuss ethical and legal issues related to reproduction and the practice of midwifery.
  5. Explain the legal requirements and ethical considerations around collaborative health care relationships between midwives and others.
  6. Critically reflect and discuss the professional, media and public image of midwifery.

Subject Content

1. Legislation Governing Professional Practice
- Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009
- Health Care Complaints Act 1993
- Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 No 157
- child protection responsibilities including Keep them Safe policy guidelines
- The coroners court
- Legal requirements for: Termination of pregnancy -1st and 2nd trimester, Miscarriage /Stillbirths /Neonatal deaths, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Maternal deaths
2. Regulatory Framework
- Australian health practitioner regulation agency
- Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council
-midwife Standards for practice
-international Code of ethics for Midwives
-Code of conduct for Midwives in Australia
-Midwifery practice decision flow chart.
3. Professional Framework
- Australian College of Midwives; National Midwifery Guidelines for Consultation and Referral, Role of the consumer
4. Discipline of Midwifery
- Roles, functions and competencies; boundaries of practice, legal issues, philosophical underpinnings of ethics, ethical issues, collaborative health care and midwifery practice, public image of midwifery, critical reflection.
- Ethical issues in Midwifery; introduction to ethics (what is ethics how does it differ from law), philosophical underpinnings of ethics, human rights/ rights to and in healthcare, ethical issues related to reproduction, whistleblowing, conscientious obj
5. Using Research to Inform Practice
- research ethics


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Case Study 400 words 20 N Individual
Case Study 1,500 words 40 N Individual
Final Exam 2 hours 40 N Individual
Participation weekly S/U N Individual

Teaching Periods

Spring (2023)

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Carole Doyle Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window

Spring (2024)

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Carole Doyle Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window

Structures that include subject