Midwives provide care, education, advice and support to women and their families during pregnancy, labour and birth, and provide postnatal care to women and babies in the early weeks following birth.
To become a midwife you usually have to study midwifery at university. Alternatively, you can undertake a postgraduate qualification in midwifery if you have completed a degree in registered nursing. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology and chemistry are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in midwifery. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree and registration as a nurse. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.
Midwives may perform the following tasks:
Midwives usually work to a rotating seven-day roster that includes morning, afternoon and night shifts, as well as weekends and public holidays. Alternatively, they may work in more flexible models of care that allow them to structure their working hours around the needs of the women for whom they care. They are often required to work on call.
Midwives may work in public and private hospitals, community and home-based services, community health centres and development programs, womenâ€™s shelters, womenâ€™s prisons, the armed forces, refugee centres and fertility clinics. Midwives may be required, or have the opportunity, to work in rural and remote areas. They may also work in private practice by themselves, with other midwives or with a doctor. Midwives are also employed in international aid agencies and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. An increasing number of midwives are self-employed as consultants and educators. Midwifery is a growing professional area and there are varied opportunities for midwives to work in clinical settings, as well as within education and research. With experience, and sometimes further training, midwives may take on supervisory or management positions.
A midwifery educator supports and teaches midwifery students; assists with the development, design, implementation and evaluation of midwifery education and professional development programmes; and manages educational resources.