Advertisement

Language used to describe the Australian midwifery workforce: A change opportunity to improve professional identity

  • Author Footnotes
    1 ORCIDiD: 0000–0002-0939–6043
    Kath Brundell
    Correspondence
    Correspondence to: 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood 3125, Australia.
    Footnotes
    1 ORCIDiD: 0000–0002-0939–6043
    Affiliations
    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia

    School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, Australian Catholic University, Victoria, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    2 ORCIDiD: 0000–0002-2772–811X
    Vidanka Vasilevski
    Footnotes
    2 ORCIDiD: 0000–0002-2772–811X
    Affiliations
    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia

    Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research, Western Health Partnership, Victoria, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
  • Tanya Farrell
    Affiliations
    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Latrobe University, Victoria, Australia

    Safer Care Victoria, Department of Health, Victorian Government, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    3 ORCIDiD: 0000–0003-0605–1186
    Linda Sweet
    Footnotes
    3 ORCIDiD: 0000–0003-0605–1186
    Affiliations
    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia

    Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research, Western Health Partnership, Victoria, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    1 ORCIDiD: 0000–0002-0939–6043
    2 ORCIDiD: 0000–0002-2772–811X
    3 ORCIDiD: 0000–0003-0605–1186
Published:December 10, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2022.11.013

      Abstract

      Background

      Tertiary level midwifery educational pathways to achieve registration as a midwife vary in Australia, with a shift from the hospital to the university sector more than 20 years ago. These pathways are often referred to in the workforce setting to distinguish midwives with different academic backgrounds.

      Aim

      To discuss the genesis of midwifery education in the Australian setting and explore the impact of the language used to describe the educational backgrounds on the professional identity of midwives.

      Discussion

      Strong tertiary and regulatory governance exists to support the robust development of midwifery educational programmes and to ensure a high-quality, woman-centred workforce. Once registered, all midwives have the same skill set to provide care to women and families. However, separatist language is often used to describe midwives according to their educational background which has a propensity to reduce positive midwifery identity and influence continuing workforce attrition rates.

      Conclusion

      Positive expression of midwifery identity, using a strength discourse and an inclusive workforce have the ability to strengthen job satisfaction and intention to remain in the profession. Midwifery education can occur through several pathways; however once registered, all midwives are equal.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Women and Birth
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

      1. Australian College of Midwives, 2021. Rebirth of midwifery. Australian College of Midwives. Retrieved 3rd of July from 〈https://australianmidwiferyhistory.org.au/re-emergenceofmidwifery/〉.

        • Bloxsome D.
        • Ireson D.
        • Doleman G.
        • Bayes S.
        Factors associated with midwives’ job satisfaction and intention to stay in the profession: an integrative review.
        J. Clin. Nurs. 2019; 28: 386-399https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.14651
        • Callander E.
        • Sidebotham M.
        • Lindsay D.
        • Gamble J.
        The future of the Australian midwifery workforce: impacts of ageing and workforce exit on the number of registered midwives.
        Women Birth. 2021; 34: 56-60https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2020.02.023
        • Capper T.
        • Muurlink O.
        • Williamson M.
        Midwifery students’ perceptions of the modifiable organisational factors that foster bullying behaviours whilst on clinical placement. a qualitative descriptive study.
        Women Birth. 2021; 34: e608-e615https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2020.12.005
        • Catling C.
        • Reid F.
        • Hunter B.
        Australian midwives’ experiences of their workplace culture.
        Women Birth. 2017; 30: 137-145https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2016.10.001
        • Catling C.
        • Rossiter C.
        Midwifery workplace culture in Australia: a national survey of midwives.
        Women Birth. 2020; 33: 464-472https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2019.09.008
        • Homer C.
        • Passant L.
        • Kildea S.
        • Picombe J.
        • Thorogood C.
        • Leap N.
        • Brodie P.
        The development of national competency standards for the midwife in Australia.
        Midiwfery. 2007; 23: 350-360https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2006.03.008
        • Kemp J.
        • Maclean G.
        • Moyo N.
        Midwifery education.
        in: Kemp J. Maclean G. Moyo N. Global Midwifery: Principles, Policy and Practice. Springer International Publishing, 2021: 49-69https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-46765-4_4
        • King R.
        ACM representing midwives during the ANMAC midwife accreditation standards review process.
        Aust. Midwifery N. 2019; https://doi.org/10.3316/informit.251793045428643
        • Leap N.
        Identifying the midwifery practice component of Australian midwifery education programs. Results of the Australian midwifery action project (AMAP) education survey.
        Aust. J. Midwifery. 2002; 15: 15-23https://doi.org/10.1016/S1031-170X(02)80004-6
        • Leap N.
        The introduction of 'direct entry' midwifery courses in Australian universities: issues, myths and a need for collaboration.
        ACMI J. 1999; : 11-16
        • Sheehy A.
        • Smith R.
        • Gray J.
        • Homer C.
        Understanding workforce experiences in the early career period of Australian midwives: insights into factors which strengthen job satisfaction.
        Midwifery. 2021; 93102880https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2020.102880
        • Sweet L.
        • Bazargan M.
        • McKellar L.
        • Gray J.
        • Henderson A.
        Validation of the Australian midwifery standards assessment tool (AMSAT): a tool to assess midwifery competence.
        Women Birth. 2018; 31: 59-68https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2017.06.017