Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Postgraduate - Unit

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedClayton First semester 2011 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2011 (Day)
Gippsland First semester 2011 (Flexible)
Coordinator(s)Dr Mary Anne Biro (Clayton), Ms Maureen Miles (Gippsland)


This unit addresses the need for students to adequately understand what it means to be a professional midwife through exploring issues that impact upon the role of the midwife. These issues include socio-cultural, historical, political, regulatory, legal, ethical and institutional factors that affect midwifery and maternity service delivery at local, national and international levels. Against these factors the role of midwifery as primary health care will be explored in relation to health promotion and education in pregnancy, birth, parenting and lactation, and fertility regulation. This unit works to put into context for the student, the nature and scope of midwifery practice, its interaction and relationships with powerful others in the maternity service milieu, its relationship to consumer activist and advocacy groups, and its role in the community.


On completion of this unit the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the development of the midwifery profession, from historical and current perspectives;
  2. Define the scope of midwifery practice and provide a critique of this scope against the International Definition of a Midwife (ICM WHO);
  3. Develop a critique of maternity service delivery in Australia informed by professional literature, government reports and observation and experience;
  4. Debate legal and ethical considerations for midwifery practice, including the statutes and regulations that govern and regulate midwifery, especially where they limit midwifery from reaching its espoused scope of practice;
  5. Analyse the roles and functions of professional organisations, locally, nationally, and globally, that have an impact on the delivery of midwifery services and the health and wellbeing of women and babies;
  6. Describe the various models of midwifery care available for the childbearing woman and analyse the factors that limit or facilitate the choices they might make;
  7. Critique the role and ability of research to inform social policy and professional attitudes in relation to the availability of maternity care choices;
  8. Examine and debate micro and macro political, social and cultural and ethico-legal factors that impact on birthing women and midwives;
  9. Debate the ability of midwifery as a profession to advocate for women and to work with women for improvement in maternity services;
  10. Demonstrate theoretical understanding and skills development in education and counselling for health promotion in relation to breastfeeding and fertility regulation, and preparation for childbirth and parenting;
  11. Discuss the role of the midwife as primary health provider; and
  12. Demonstrate midwifery competency based upon the ACMI Competency Standards.


Abstract and poster presentation 30%
written assignment 40%
guided study activities 30%
Assessment of midwifery practice skills Pass/Fail

Chief examiner(s)

Dr MaryAnne Biro

Off-campus attendance requirements

Attendance at residential schools held oncampus at Gippsland. (Gippsland only)


MID5001 Woman midwife partnerships + MID5002 Extending midwifery partnerships.