Background: In 2010 new legislation in Australia led to the establishment of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Authority standards, now used to manage nursing and midwifery registration and the annual re-registration requirements for midwives and nurses. These clearly articulate the continuing professional development (CPD) requirements together with a guiding framework. Individuals need to engage in adult pedagogy which makes explicit the need for self-examination to identify and prioritise their learning needs.
Objectives: This study aimed to investigate how existing registered midwives approach and are challenged by these changed statutory requirements in Australia, particularly completion of CPD activity.
Design: This paper reports the findings from phase one of a two phase, longitudinal, case study in which midwives describe their experience during in-depth qualitative interviews.
Participants: A sample of 20 female participants was recruited nationally from four states using a purposive sampling approach to provide maximum variation to explore the issue.
Methods: Each participant took part in an in-depth interview. In order to facilitate reflection on experiences each participant was asked to discuss an object that held professional value or meaning to them.
Results: A key theme in the findings is the relationship between motivation which influences the decisions that midwives are making about CPD, their ongoing registration and practice context. The findings reveal implicit values and beliefs about practice relationships and how these function as motivational factors that influence midwives' decisions about CPD and practice options.
Conclusions: The findings provide insight into the need for system wide dialogue to devise ways to support midwives to maintain as well as to continue to develop their practice, through CPD and to acknowledge the challenges faced by those midwives who currently hold dual registration as a registered nurse in the context of the changed requirements.