NURS 7037 Midwifery as a Profession

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 401087

Coordinator Athena Sheehan Opens in new window

Description This subject introduces students to the profession of midwifery. It explores: the meaning of birth; the historical and social contexts of birth; and the role of the midwife through the continuum, from early beginnings to its current legal and professional standing. Within a legal and ethical framework, the Australian College of Midwives (ACM) philosophy and role of the midwife will be explored. Students will also be required to discuss and critically analyse current models of midwifery care.

School Nursing & Midwifery

Discipline Midwifery

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

Check your HECS Band contribution amount via the Fees page.

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject


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. Articulate their own personal beliefs around birth;
  2. Explore and analyse childbirth within different cultures and within different time periods;
  3. Discuss the development of midwifery as a profession and the ACM philosophy of role of the midwife;
  4. Explore and analyse the social, political and cultural context of birth in Australia and its impact;
  5. Critique the history of midwifery and the contemporary organisation of healthcare in Australia on the provision of maternity care.
  6. Identify the legal and professional standards which guide midwifery regulation and practice.
  7. Discuss models of midwifery care

Subject Content

1. Childbirth
- birth in other cultures and other centuries
- midwives in history
- from home to hospital
2. The Social, Political and Cultural Context of Birth in Australia
- history and politics of midwifery in Australia
- the Australian health care system and its influence on the design and delivery of maternity services
- maternity services: policy, organisation and culture
- Social Determinants of Health
- Australian National Health Priorities
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples health needs and services
- social and cultural context/factors that impact on the health and well-being of families in Australia
- public image of midwives and birth
3. Development of Midwifery as a Profession
- students own beliefs and perceptions of birth and midwifery
- global standards of midwifery (International Confederation of Midwives)
- Australian College of Midwives philosophy and role of the midwife
4. Models of Midwifery Care
- Continuity of Care
- Private Midwifery
- Team Midwifery
- Caseload
- Centering Pregnancy
- Shared care
5. 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
6. Regulatory and Professional Framework
- Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
- Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council, roles, functions, competencies and boundaries of practice
o Midwife standards for practice
o The ICM code of ethics for midwives
o Code of conduct for Midwives
o Midwifery practice decision flow chart
o National Midwifery Guidelines for Consultation and Referral
- Australian College of Midwives

Special Requirements

Legislative pre-requisites

Special Requirements - NSW Health Legislative Prerequisites Pre-requisites

Student Compliance Information for all Health-Related Placements

Prior to enrolling in this subject, students must have submitted a Student Undertaking Form and undertake to apply for a National Police Check, which is required to be submitted before placement, and a Working with Children Check Student Declaration. Use the link to the Special Requirements webpage below for more information.

To be eligible to enrol in this subject and complete any required health-related placements or experiences, students must meet Western Sydney University program requirements as well as any special, legislated, or policy-mandated requirements.

Western Program Requirements

Visit the Special Requirements webpage for details about your program.

Special Requirements

Mandatory NSW Health student placement policy requirements

To be able to undertake placement in any NSW Health facility you must be assessed as compliant with NSW Health student placement policy in the first year of your program, regardless of when you expect to go on your first placement. Access and read the NSW Student Compliance Information Booklet.

NSW Student Compliance Information Booklet

Please ensure that you

  1.  Find your existing National Police Check or apply for one
  2.  Gather documentary evidence of your vaccination history
  3.  Print and compete all relevant NSW Health forms relevant to the campus you are enrolled at or online enrolment requirements
  4.  Follow booklet instructions on how to have your compliance documents assessed by NSW health staff.

International students have additional requirements; the link to the booklet will inform you of these requirements.

School Requirements

Contact your School for further details regarding your School’s requirements, if any, such as

  • If you live outside of NSW or Australia and need to meet your state, territory or country’s compliance requirements
  • If you need to meet different state, territory or country compliance requirements.
  • NSW Working with Children Check (WWCC) or other state equivalent, valid for your entire program.
  • Current approved first aid certificate valid for your entire program - approved program providers can be found at the Government Training website
  • Other non-health related requirements.

Student Compliance Resources are also available on the Placements Hub web page (NSW students only)


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 Review x2 800 words per critical review 40 N Individual
End of Session Closed Book Examination MCQ and Short Answer 2 hours 60 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Pairman, S., Tracy, S., Dahlen, H. & Dixon, L. (2019). Midwifery: preparation for practice (4th ed.). Chatswood, N.S.W: Elsevier, Australia

Teaching Periods

Structures that include subject