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MIDW201 Clinical Midwifery Practice 3 OR MIDW224 Midwifery Professional Practice 4

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit extends and integrates learning from MIDW335 Babies Needing Extra Care, through simulation laboratories and supervised clinical practice, with a focus on care of the neonate with complex needs including admission to a Special Care Nursery. Students will have the opportunity to develop skills in neonatal care, meeting the needs of the family with a sick neonate and education requirements of families. Students will continue to participate in and learn from the Continuity of Care Experience (CCE). This unit is required by students to assist them to use theory to drive clinical practice in neonatal care and to understand needs of the family, inclusive of education needs.

The aim of this fourth Clinical Midwifery Practice unit is to build on students' previous and current learning including anatomy and physiological processes of childbearing to further contextualise their theoretical knowledge through clinical practice.

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
LO1Apply legal and ethical frameworks, policies and procedures to safe, culturally competent, evidence-based care for the neonate and family in the postnatal ward and Special Care Nursery;GC1, GC2, GC5, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12
LO2Demonstrate competence in neonatal resuscitation;GC1, GC2, GC8, GC12
LO3Apply knowledge and skills to assess, plan, provide and evaluate safe, competent, evidence-based, family-centred care for the neonate with complex needs within the context of the multidisciplinary team;GC1, GC2, GC4, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12
LO4Reflect on learning to initiate and evaluate effective learning and self-care strategies for themselves and others in relation to caring for neonates.GC1, GC2, GC3, GC9, GC11

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; 1.6

LO1; LO2; LO3 

Standard 2: Engages in professional relationships and respectful partnerships  

2.1; 2.2; 2.3; 2.4; 2.5; 2.6 

LO1; LO3

Standard 3: Demonstrates the capability and accountability for midwifery practice  

3.1; 3.2; 3.3; 3.5; 3.6; 3.7; 3.8

LO1; LO2; LO3; LO4

Standard 4: Undertakes comprehensive assessments  

4.1; 4.2; 4.3; 4.4

LO2; LO3 

Standard 5: Develops plans for midwifery practice  

5.1; 5.2; 5.3; 5.4

LO2; LO3 

Standard 6: Provides safety and quality in midwifery practice  

6.3; 6.4

LO1; LO2

Standard 7: Evaluates outcomes to improve midwifery practice  

7.1; 7.2; 7.3 

LO3; LO4 


Topics will include: 

Legal and professional practice 

  • Scope of practice 
  • Documentation and use of health informatics and health technology 
  • Medication knowledge and administration 
  • Med+Safe medication calculations
  • Assertive communication skills 

Midwifery knowledge and practice 

  • Special Care Nursery environment and equipment 
  • Thermoregulation devices 
  • Oxygen saturation equipment 
  • Assisted ventilation equipment 
  • Vital signs monitors 
  • Phototherapy 
  • Routine care of the neonate 
  • Gestational, physical and psychosocial assessment 
  • Hygiene 
  • Nutrition 
  • Immunisation 
  • Thermoregulation 
  • Developmental care 
  • Parental involvement 
  • Promoting bonding and attachment  
  • Resuscitation of the baby 
  • Oxygen therapy 
  • Continuous positive airways pressure 
  • Surfactant therapy 
  • Blood gases 
  • Pharmacology  
  • Nutrition 
  • Breastfeeding  
  • Orogastric &/or nasogastric feeds 
  • IV therapy 
  • Breastmilk substitute feeds 
  • Fluid balance and electrolytes  
  • Neonatal medications 
  • Intravenous therapy and medications 
  • Care of the neonate with complex needs 
  • Respiratory distress 
  • Hypoglycaemia 
  • Jaundice and phototherapy 
  • Perinatal drug exposure 
  • Prematurity 
  • Sepsis 
  • Neurological disorders 

Midwifery as primary health care 

  • Care of the family 
  • Support and counselling 
  • Involvement in care and decision-making 
  • Education - care of the baby 
  • Transition from hospital to home 
  • Transition to parenthood 

Reflective and ethical practice 

  • Ethical issues in caring for neonates and their families 
  • Self-care strategies working in Special Care Nursery 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Modes of delivery in this unit include group learning activities such as skill demonstrations, simulated practice, online classroom, supervised clinical practice, participation in the the Continuity of Care Experience (CCE) and self-directed study.  Development of knowledge, skills and understanding will also be supported using 'hands on' methods, story sharing, community linking and other Aboriginal ways of learning. Consistent with adult learning principles, the teaching and learning strategies used within these modes of delivery will provide students with foundational knowledge and skills relevant to professional midwifery practice.  These strategies will 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 undertaking a tertiary qualification need skills to assist them in managing their individual learning. Feedback and effective self-reflection are required to identify what is being done well, what requires additional work and to identify progress toward required learning outcomes. Located in the third year of the programme, this clinical unit assists students to link theory with its application and to build life-long learning skills. Group learning activities are utilised to convey content and central principles while laboratories and simulation deliver interactive learning sessions which assist student to apply theory to clinical practice and build critical reflective skills. The supervised clinical practicum of 240 hours in relevant health care settings (with a minimum of 80 hours in Special Care Nursery) provides a safe environment where students can provide assisted woman-centred care essential for successful graduate practice.   

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 on-campus assessment will provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate developed skills in the safety of a simulated experience using the Aboriginal 'hands on' way of knowing. The follow through experience allows the student to observe and reflect upon the transition for a family from Special Care Nursery to home. The continued development of the professional midwifery portfolio will allow the students to showcase their learning experiences (clinical and CCE) in a professional manner ensuring that documentation meets the professional legal requirements for practice experiences. Students must complete and pass all assessment tasks. 

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

Follow through experience with a woman, neonate and family 

Enables students to observe and reflect upon the transition for a family from Special Care Nursery to home. 


LO1, LO3, LO4

On-campus Practice Competency 

Enables students to demonstrate competency in professional behavour, communication skills and safe and effective implementation of midwifery skills and knowledge. 


LO2, LO3

Professional Midwifery Portfolio. 

Enables students to showcase their clinical experiences in a professional manner, inclusive of the Continuity of Care Experience, ensuring that documentation meets the professional and legal requirements for practice. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Australian College of Midwives [ACM]. (2021). National Midwifery Guidelines for Consultation and Referral (4th ed.). Australian College of Midwives. 

Davies, L., & McDonald, S. (Eds.). (2020). Examination of the Newborn and Neonatal Health: A Multidimensional Approach (2nd ed.). Elsevier. 

Gardner, S. L., Carter, B.S., Enzman-Hines, M., & Niermeyer, S. (2020). Merenstein & Gardner's Handbook of Neonatal Intensive Care (9th ed.). Elsevier.

Johnson, R., & Taylor, W., De-Vitry Smith, S., Bayes, S. (2018). Skills for Midwifery Practice Australian & New Zealand Edition (1st ed.). Elsevier. 

MacDonald, S., & Johnson, G. (Eds.). (2017). Mayes' Midwifery (15th ed.). Elsevier. 

Meeks, M., Hallsworth, M., & Yeo, H. (Eds.). (2013). Nursing the Neonate (2nd ed.). Wiley.

Sinha, S., Miall, L., & Jardine, L. (2017). Essential Neonatal Medicine (6th ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. 

Wylie, L. & Bryce, H. (2016). The Midwives' Guide to Key Medical Conditions (2nd ed.). Elsevier.

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