Midwifery pre-registration education and mid-career workforce participation and experiences

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Women and Birth, 2019, 32 (2), pp. e182 - e188
Issue Date:
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© 2018 Australian College of Midwives Background: Midwives in Australia are educated through a range of routes providing flexible ways to become a midwife. Little is known about whether the route to registration impacts on mid-career experiences, in particular, whether the pathway (post-nursing pathway compared with ‘direct-entry’) makes any difference. Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the midwifery workforce experiences and participation in graduates six to seven years after completing either a post-nursing Graduate Diploma in Midwifery (GradDip) or an undergraduate degree, the Bachelor of Midwifery (BMid), from one university in New South Wales, Australia. Methods: Data were collected from mid-career midwives having graduated from one NSW university from 2007–2008 using a survey. The survey included validated workforce participation instruments — the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), the Practice Environment Scale-Nursing Work Index (PES-NWI) and the Perceptions of Empowerment in Midwifery Scale (PEMS). Results: There were 75 respondents: 40% (n = 30) Bachelor of Midwifery and 60% (n = 45) GradDip graduates. The age range was 27–56 years old (mean age = 36 years) Bachelor of Midwifery graduates being on average 7.6 years older than Graduate Diploma in Midwifery graduates (40 vs 33 years; p < 0.01). Almost 80% (59), were currently working in midwifery. Nine of the 12 not working in midwifery (75%) planned to return. There were no differences in workforce participation measures between the two educational pathways. Working in a continuity of care model was protective in regards to remaining in the profession. Conclusion: Most mid-career graduates were still working in midwifery. There were no differences between graduates from the two pathways in relation to burnout, practice experiences or perceptions of empowerment.
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