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 fees 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


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

Structures that include subject