Birth of a Midwife: The Transitional Journey from Student to Practitioner

Allison Cummins, Michelle Gray

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Australia has a mixed private and public health service. The majority of childbearing women will access maternity services through the public health system. The majority of midwives will work as part of the public health system. Most births occur in hospitals attended by a midwife, less than a third of all births occur in a private hospital with an obstetrician, a small proportion occur in a birth centre and <1% occur at home with a privately practising midwife. Midwives are employed to work on a roster in a public or private hospital. Some will work in small group practices providing care to a caseload of women known as midwifery-led continuity of care, usually in the hospital or birth centre setting. An even smaller proportion will provide homebirth as part of the public system or as a privately practising midwife in their own business. Pathways to becoming a midwife include a direct entry undergraduate degree, a direct entry double degree in nursing and midwifery and a postgraduate degree designed for registered nurses. Midwifery is regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, and all midwives need to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Authority. Newly graduated midwives have traditionally completed a transition to practice program that involves working for a specified period of time in each area of the maternity service. More recently new graduate midwives have been employed directly into midwifery-led continuity of care models. This chapter will provide an overview of the transitional journey from midwifery student to newly graduated midwife in the Australian context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStarting Life as a Midwife
Subtitle of host publicationAn International Review of Transition from Student to Practitioner
EditorsMichelle Gray, Ellen Kitson-Reynolds, Allison Cummins
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-93852-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-93851-6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


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