Course Title: Trends and Issues in Midwifery

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Trends and Issues in Midwifery

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014

Course Coordinator: Dr Jennifer James

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6650

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

There are no pre requisite requirements associated with your enrolment in this course.
Contact your course coordinator if you think you may be eligible for recognition of prior learning. For further information go to:

Course Description

During this course you will explore the historical evolution of midwifery and midwifery practice. You will consider contemporary and future directions for midwifery care and practice from a global, national and local perspective.  Reflection on the changing political, economic, professional and societal trends and their continued impact on midwifery practice will stimulate discussion on the future role of the midwife. Concerns expressed by women, families and midwives related to birthing options will be analysed, and alternative models for effective care in pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period will be explored. The expanding role of the midwife as primary carer for well women will be examined. This course will also give you an overview of the role and responsibilities of the midwife within legal and ethical boundaries.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Course Learning Outcomes
At the conclusion of this course you should be able to:

  • critically examine the role and function of the midwife, midwifery and midwifery care from historical and contemporary perspectives
  • interpret theoretical and practice models of care for childbearing women
  • critique the politics of health-care and the impact of politics on childbearing women and the current and future practice of the midwife
  • critically examine legal requirements and ethical issues within midwifery practice
  • critically review the professional issues impacting on midwifery care
  • explore management issues in midwifery practice.

Program Learning Outcomes
This course contributes to the development of the Program Learning Outcomes in the following way:

  • PLO1:  Functions in accordance with legislation and common law affecting midwifery practice
  • PLO2: Accepts accountability and responsibility for own actions within midwifery practice
  • PLO3:  Communicates information to facilitate decision making by the woman
  • PLO4: Promotes safe and effective midwifery care
  • PLO5: Assesses, plans, provides and evaluates safe and effective midwifery care
  • PLO6: Assesses, plans, provides and evaluates safe and effective midwifery care for the woman and/or baby with complex needs
  • PLO7: Advocates to protect the rights of women, families and communities in relation to maternity care
  • PLO8:  Develops effective strategies to implement and support collaborative midwifery practice
  • PLO9: Actively supports midwifery as a public health strategy
  • PLO10: Ensures midwifery practice is culturally safe
  • PLO11: Bases midwifery practice on ethical decision making
  • PLO12: Identifies personal beliefs and develops these in ways that enhance midwifery practice
  • PLO13: Acts to enhance the professional development of self and others
  • PLO14: Uses research to inform midwifery practice

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities you will undertake in this course include a mixture of lectures, seminars and include a clinical practicum in the midwifery setting. You will participate in classroom activities to facilitate discussion of concepts introduced and build on the practical experience undertaken in the workplace setting.  The seminar format will be used in order to give an overview of the specified study area and to direct you to foundational, critical and evidence based readings. Facilitated open discussions in the seminar context will draw on your student midwife clinical practice and life experiences as well as prescribed readings for the course. This approach will enable you to share, explore and debate issues regarding midwifery well as providing a solid theoretical basis to help you to achieve professional practice.  

Overview of Learning Resources

The learning resources associated with this course will include targeted readings taken from a range of both primary and secondary sources. Material chosen may be digitally available to you. Lecture material may be delivered using a variety of technologies including Lectopia, Discussion Board interaction and Blackboard Collaborate workshops. Practice learning activities will be provided in a variety of ways, including simulated learning activities. Textbooks, journal articles and the electronic media also provide learning resources for students undertaking this course as well as the midwifery practice domain. RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems

Overview of Assessment

The assessment associated with this course will comprise a formative and summative assessment and incorporate a variety of assessment modes. The assessment tasks will be designed to assess your ability to understand and apply concepts in relation to midwifery practice.

Your formative assessment will take the form of written or on-line assessment where you are required to provide evidence of your knowledge and application to practice. This may include a journal article critique or a critical review. Your summative assessment will require you to develop a health teaching package or similar health promotion activity.

These assessments may include use of online technology and are designed to require students to demonstrate a critical analysis of the core principles presented in the course.

For information on grades used in RMIT courses see:

Assessment completed in the first half of the semester will provide feedback on your progress. Ongoing feedback on your skills will be provided from peers and staff.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.

This course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies and procedures which are described and referenced, at: