NURS 7017 Complex Care

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 401091

Coordinator Leanne Luck Opens in new window

Description This subject provides students with knowledge of complex conditions that may arise during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period for the woman or her newborn/s. Emphasis will be placed on the biological and physiological aspects of these conditions. In addition, issues surrounding infertility and reproductive technologies available to women will be explored. The subject also integrates physiological, psychosocial and cultural aspects relating to a woman experiencing a complex pregnancy, labour, birth or post birth period. The role of the midwife in maintaining partnerships with women even when childbearing experiences are complex will be discussed and critically analysed. In addition this subject includes critical analysis of ethical aspects affecting midwifery and maternity care.

School Nursing & Midwifery

Discipline Midwifery

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject

Pre-requisite(s) NURS 7011 AND
NURS 7034

Co-requisite(s) NURS 7035


Students must be enrolled in 4697 Graduate Diploma in Midwifery and be a registered nurse employed in a participating NSW Health Local Health District facility in the position of a midwifery student.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Discuss infertility and explain reproductive technologies
  2. Apply knowledge of the normal biological, physiological, and psychological and social processes of pregnancy, labour, birth, the postnatal period to identify and explain deviations from normal; ensure early consultation or referral, including relevant details to appropriate members of the health care team
  3. Identify risk factors and instigate measures to minimise adverse outcomes for women or newborns
  4. Critically analyse care for a woman experiencing an unanticipated pregnancy outcome
  5. Demonstrate appropriate application of knowledge around social determinants of health particularly in regard to marginalised women and those with perinatal mental health needs
  6. Critically discuss seminal and current theories related to attachment, infant mental health and perinatal mental health and the implications for practice
  7. Critically evaluate midwifery care to reduce morbidity and mortality rates for women with an emphasis on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and CALD women
  8. Critically reflect and discuss legal and ethical aspects and responsibilities of the midwife which affect midwifery and/or maternity care including collaborative health care relationships between midwives and others in complex situations

Subject Content

1. Infertility
- assisting The woman and her family in relation to Infertility
- assisted Reproductive technologies
2. Maternal complexities during pregnancy, labour and birth
- Complications in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy (such as ectopic pregnancy, threatened miscarriage, hyperemesis)
- hypertensive disorders of Pregnancy
- Hepatic disorders
- Rhesus disease
- Maternal infections
- diabetes
- haemorrhage - antenatal, intrapartum and postpartum
- Gestational growth - small / Large for Gestational Age
- Pre-term labour and birth
- severe pain in labour
3. Maternal complexities in the postnatal period; Postnatal complications such as perineal trauma, urinary retention, infections, mastitis, breast abscess
4. Caring for the newborn in complex situations; Premature infants, Neonatal jaundice, Respiratory distress, Neonatal infections
5. Supporting women with complex conditions and social and emotional issues
- Pharmacology for complex conditions
- Domestic violence and its associated Factors
- substance misuse (alcohol and other drugs)
- impact on parenting and infant / child outcomes
- Working with women who are experiencing DV and other complex family situations
- social and emotional needs of refuge and migrant women
6. Working in partnership with women with complex pregnancies
- assessment and Monitoring of physical and emotional health and social well being
- psychosocial assessment and referral
- communication skills to work effectively with women and families in need
7. Women with previous surgical conditions that may impact on pregnancy and birth
- surgery eg Classical caesarean sections, organ transplants
- female Genital mutilation


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
Critical Analysis of a Case Scenario. Students will be presented with a case scenario relating to complex childbirth. 2,500 words 50 N Individual
End of session closed book examination consisting of MCQ and short answer questions. 2 hours 50 Y Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Pairman, S., Tracy, S., Dahlen, H. & Dixon, L. (2019). Midwifery: preparation for practice (4th ed.). Chatswood, N.S.W: Elsevier, Australia
  • Robson, S.E., & Waugh, J. (2013). Medical disorders in pregnancy: A manual for midwives. (2nd ed.). London, UK: Blackwell Publishing.

Structures that include subject