International Day of the Midwife

04 May, 2017
International Day of the Midwife
AUT midwifery students at South Campus

AUT celebrates 10 years of educating student midwives at Middlemore Hospital as part of a unique collaboration with Counties Manukau Health.

In 2007, the Midwifery Development and Education Service (MDES) was created to support student midwives on clinical practice. It enhances the teaching and learning experience by encouraging hospital staff, clinical educators and students to work in partnership.

Clinical placement enables student midwives to put theory into practice.
For those working towards a Bachelor of Health Science (Midwifery) at South Campus, more than half of their time is spent on clinical placement – around 2,400 hours over the course of the four-year degree. 

Hands-on supported practice is the best method of developing competent midwives. And, having someone dedicated to students, who is not on the roster, puts the focus on education.

The joint initiative sees MDES co-funded clinical educators working one-on-one with student midwives at Middlemore Hospital’s birthing and assessment unit.

Their in-depth knowledge of the birthing unit coupled with AUT’s midwifery programme and students allows to them to facilitate learning opportunities – pairing the student’s learning needs with the needs of women and babies on the unit, while providing quality care.

Associate Professor Judith McAra-Couper, Head of Department Midwifery at AUT, says New Zealand’s midwifery services and education are world-leading.

“Student midwives are immersed in midwifery culture throughout the programme. And, midwives are important teaching partners alongside clinical educators. This blended delivery model has increased access for students and is growing the midwifery workforce,” says McAra-Couper.

Counties Manukau Health manages more than 8,000 births each year.
The MDES at Middlemore Hospital is New Zealand’s first dedicated education unit for midwifery.

Over the past decade, it has supported almost 1,000 student midwives from AUT.

A recent review of the service shows that it has contributed to a culture of learning at the birthing unit. Both staff and students have developed a mutual respect for one another’s knowledge and skill.

Midwives who work at Middlemore Hospital said students are now part of the team. Having students present makes them more aware of their own professionalism and values. They also benefit from students bringing the latest research to the birthing unit. It raises the bar. 

The AUT midwifery programme and Centre for Midwifery and Women’s Health Research is based at South Campus, an emerging hub of research for the area.  
International Day of the Midwife on May 5 celebrates the achievements of midwives and the progress made in improving maternal and neonatal care, and midwifery services.

This year’s theme – Midwives, Mothers & Families: Partners for Life – highlights the fact that high-quality midwifery care for women and new-borns saves lives, and contributes to healthy families and more productive communities.