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  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Online Unscheduled


MIDW217 Midwifery Care of the Woman with Complex Needs

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

In this unit students will examine the role of midwife in relation to leadership, consultation and referral, and the professional learning of self and others. Organisational and management skills required for graduate level practice such as time management and team work will also be addressed in relation to the provision of safe, evidence based, woman-centred care. This unit is required by students to assist their understanding of their professional role, particularly in relation to organisational and management skills, and improving evidence-based, woman-centred care.

The aim of this unit is to assist students in consolidation of their knowledge, skills, attitudes and values regarding professional practice in midwifery.

We recognise that people who access maternity care may have diverse gender identities, that those who do can experience marginalisation and oppression, and that using appropriate terminology can help with these community members’ recognition and visibility, acknowledge the variety of pregnancy and birth experiences people may have, and respect individuals’ preferences. To reflect this, terms such as ‘pregnant person’, ‘birthing person’, ‘childbearing people’, ‘parent’ and ‘chestfeeding’ may be used in the midwifery courses at ACU in addition to ‘woman’, ‘mother’, ‘maternity’, ‘maternal’ and ‘breastfeeding’, which are used not to exclude those who do not identify as a woman, but in recognition that women continue to be marginalised and oppressed in many places around the world and to respect their own individual preferences.  

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Appraise the role of the midwife in relation to leadership, consultation and referralGC1, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO2Outline the importance of establishing and maintaining professional relationships with midwife colleagues, health care providers and other professionalsGC1, GC3, GC4, GC7, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO3Articulate a personal philosophy of midwifery and career goalsGC1, GC3, GC11
LO4Apply reflective practice principles and strategies to enhance the ongoing professional learning of self as a graduate level midwife and othersGC1, GC3, GC7, GC10, GC12
LO5Apply organisational and management skills in planning, evaluating and constantly improving evidence-based, woman-centred care in a range of midwifery settingsGC1, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12

NMBA Midwife Standards for Practice 

NMBA (2018) Midwife Standards for Practice developed in this unit are: 

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Standard 1: Promotes health and wellbeing through evidence-based midwifery practice 

1.1; 1.2; 1.4; 1.5; 1.7

LO1; LO2; LO3; LO4; LO5

Standard 2: Engages in professional relationships and respectful partnerships  

2.1; 2.7; 2.8

LO1; LO2; LO5 

Standard 3: Demonstrates the capability and accountability for midwifery practice  

3.3; 3.4; 3.5; 3.8 

LO2; LO5 

Standard 4: Undertakes comprehensive assessments  



Standard 5: Develops plans for midwifery practice  



Standard 6: Provides safety and quality in midwifery practice  

6.1; 6.3; 6.4 

LO1; LO2; LO4 

Standard 7: Evaluates outcomes to improve midwifery practice  

7.1; 7.2; 7.3 



Topics will include: 

Legal and professional practice 

  • NMBA competency standards for the midwife  
  • Scope of practice 
  • Team work- team building 
  • Collaboration and referral 
  • Assertive communication skills 
  • Leadership and management in midwifery  
  • Leadership theory 
  • Change theory and change management 
  • Assertiveness and self-care  
  • Management and business 
  • Independent practice
  • Leadership in midwifery as a profession  
  • Autonomy  
  • Professional partnerships 
  • Responsibilities and accountability 

 Midwifery knowledge and practice 

  • Clinical reasoning and decision making 
  • Prioritising and time management skills 
  • Delivering quality in midwifery practice: evaluation  
  • Clinical risk management 

Midwifery as primary health care  

  • Communication with midwives, health care providers and other professionals 
  • Professional relationships 

Reflective and ethical practice 

  • Mentoring and midwifery practice review strategies 
  • Evaluation of practice (self and others) 
  • Giving feedback 
  • Identifying and meeting learning needs 
  •  Continuing professional development 
  • Establishing career goals 
  • Self-management 
  • Portfolio 
  •  Evidence-based Practice 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Modes of delivery in this unit include online activities and self-directed learning. Consistent with adult learning principles, the teaching and learning strategies used within this mode of delivery will provide students with foundational knowledge and skills relevant to professional midwifery practice. These strategies will provide flexibility for students’ attendance at clinical placements, and also support students in meeting the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit and the broader course learning outcomes. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively with peers.  Scenario-based learning, case-based learning, problem-based learning and inquiry-based learning are all used to support the development of students' independent learning ability. 

Students exiting university need significant life-long learning skills to deliver sound, ongoing, evidence-based graduate practice as a member of the professional workforce. To embed life-long learning skills, students must demonstrate high level reflective capacity to identify what is being done well and what requires additional work in progressing toward required learning outcomes. Located in the third year of the programme, this online theory unit delivers interactive and student-driven learning sessions to extend the community of learners, and increase students’ self-reliance, critical reflection and debate - skills for life-long learning.   

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures consistent with University assessment requirements will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes.  

The portfolio enables the student to showcase their learning experiences in a professional manner within a legal framework. The group online discussion allows students to demonstrate professional communication within a team. The written assignment enables students to individually show their developing attitudes and values regarding professional behaviours and practice. 

These assessments are required to build student knowledge and skills which, by the conclusion of this programme, will enable the student to graduate as a safe and effective midwife.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Reflection via Online Learning Platform 

Enables to showcase their learning experiences in a professional manner ensuring that documentation meets the professional legal requirements for practice.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Online Group Work

Enables students to achieve sound communication and teamwork skills and understanding of key issues regarding professional practice in midwifery.  


LO1, LO2, LO4, LO5

Individual Written Assignment (1500 words) 

Enables students to articulate their knowledge, skills, attitudes and values regarding professional practice in midwifery.


LO1, LO2, LO5

Representative texts and references

Cusack, L., & Smith, M. (2019). Portfolios for Nursing, Midwifery and other Health Professions (4th ed.) Elsevier.

Clarke, E. (2015). Law and Ethics for Midwifery. Routledge. 

Downe, S., Byrom, S., & Simpson, L. (Eds.) (2011). Essential Midwifery Practice: Leadership, Expertise and Collaborative Working. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Griffith,R., Tengnah, C., & Patel, C. (2010). Law and Professional Issues in Midwifery. Learning Matters Ltd. 

Marquis, B., & Huston, C. (2020). Leadership Roles and Management Functions in Nursing: Theory and Application (10th ed.). Wolters Kluwer. 

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [NMBA] (2018). Midwife Standards for Practice. Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [NMBA]. (2013). Code of ethics for midwives. International Confederation of Midwives. 

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [NMBA]. (2018). Code of conduct for midwives. Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. 

Pairman, S., Tracey, S., Dahlen, H., & Dixon, L. (2018). Midwifery: Preparation for Practice (4th ed.). Elsevier. 

Taylor, B. (2010). Reflective Practice for Healthcare Professionals: A Practical Guide (3rd ed.). Open University Press.

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