The development of national competency standards for the midwife in Australia

Churchill Livingstone
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Midwifery, 2007, 23 (4), pp. 350 - 360
Issue Date:
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OBJECTIVE: to develop and validate national competency standards for midwives in Australia. This study was part of a commissioned national research project to articulate the scope of practice of Australian midwives and to develop national competency standards to assist midwives to deliver safe and competent midwifery care. DESIGN: a multi-method, staged approach was used to collect data through a literature review, workshop consultations, interviews, surveys and written submissions in order to develop national competency standards for Australian midwives. Subsequently, direct observation of practice in a range of settings ensured validation of the competencies. SETTING: maternity-care settings in each state and territory in Australia. PARTICIPANTS: midwives, other health professionals and consumers of midwifery care. FINDINGS: The national competency standards for the midwife were developed through research and consultation before being validated in practice. KEY CONCLUSIONS: the national competency standards are currently being implemented into education, regulation and practice in Australia. These will be minimum competency standards required of all midwives who seek authority to practise as a midwife in Australia. It is expected that all midwives will demonstrate that they are able to meet the competency standards relevant to the position they hold. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: the competency standards establish a national standard for midwives and reinforce responsibility and accountability in the provision of quality midwifery care through safe and effective practice. In addition, individual midwives may use the competency standards as the basis of their ongoing professional development plans.
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