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MIDW217 Midwifery Care of the Woman with Complex Needs

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit provides the opportunity for students to integrate knowledge and consolidate understanding from theoretical and clinical units to critically explore issues influencing contemporary midwifery practice. Students are provided the opportunity to examine an issue of women's healthcare related to cultural, political, social and ethical frameworks. Students will use critical reflection to evaluate an issue in order to create new personal knowledge; contributing to their personal and professional profile development in line with professional standards for the midwifery profession. The unit is required by students to develop their skills in undertaking an inquiry into clinical practice, specifically the identification of the clinical issue for inquiry, the completion of a review of contemporary evidence, and finally, dissemination of inquiry results.

The aim of this unit is to support and challenge final year students to undertake an inquiry into a clinical issue pertinent to their midwifery 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 principles of critical inquiry and clinical reasoning required to provide evidence informed and effective midwifery care across the continuum of maternity care;GC1, GC3, GC7, GC9, GC10, GC11
LO2Demonstrate beginning research skills necessary for promotion of evidence-based, culturally competent, woman centred midwifery practice;GC1, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO3Demonstrate the domains of professional midwifery practice to support ongoing professional development and profile development;GC1, GC3, GC7, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO4Utilise health informatics and health technology to effectively support learning and critical reflection.GC1, GC3, 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; 1.6; 1.7

LO1; LO2; LO3

Standard 2: Engages in professional relationships and respectful partnerships  

2.4; 2.5; 2.6 

LO1; LO2

Standard 3: Demonstrates the capability and accountability for midwifery practice  

3.3; 3.4

LO1; LO2; LO3 

Standard 4: Undertakes comprehensive assessments  

4.3; 4.4

LO1; LO2 

Standard 5: Develops plans for midwifery practice  


LO2; LO4 

Standard 6: Provides safety and quality in midwifery practice  


LO1; LO2; LO4 

Standard 7: Evaluates outcomes to improve midwifery practice  




Topics will include: 

Legal and professional practice 

  • Scope of practice 
  • Documentation and use of health informatics and health technology 
  • Consultation and collaboration 
  • Assertive communication skills

Midwifery knowledge and practice 

  • Research skills 
  • Literature review 
  • Proposal development 
  • Critical analysis 
  • Presentation of findings focusing on academic literacy skills 
  • Clinical reasoning 
  • Models of clinical reasoning 
  • Decision making in midwifery 
  • Woman-midwife partnership 
  • Exploration of professional standards in midwifery 

Midwifery as primary health care 

  • Development of professional autonomy 
  • Introduction to change theory and change management 

Reflective and ethical practice 

  • Lifelong learning process 
  • Understanding and appreciation of evidence-based practice 
  • Communication of evidence-based knowledge to colleagues, women and families 
  • Reflexivity and reflective processes 
  • Independent and supportive learning 
  • Demonstrating lifelong learning 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning.  Teaching and learning strategies include learner-centred resource sessions and online classroom learning including online critical discussion boards.  Teaching methods reflect respect for the student as an independent adult lifelong learner. Students will be encouraged to take responsibility for their learning and to participate and collaborate in the online learning environment. 

Modes of delivery in this unit include learner-centred resource sessions and online classroom learning including online critical discussion boards and self-directed study. 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. Development of knowledge, skills and understanding will also be supported using 'hands on' methods, story sharing, community linking and other Aboriginal ways of learning. 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 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 increasing 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 theory unit includes some face-to-face teaching hours and an increased online component of learning. The oline classroom provides student-driven learning sessions to extend the community of learners, and increase their self-reliance, critical reflection and debate. Online materials provide students with the opportunity to undertake directed, self-motivated study and continue to transition to independent study and 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.  

Achievement of the unit objectives will be determined through the student identifying a topic for exploration and completing the activity which includes demonstrating skills in location of the evidence for practice and development of a resource for presentation. The final results of this activity will be disseminated to the wider student and clinical partnership community through development of a poster or oral presentation. 

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

Proposal Development (500 words) 

Enables students to identify a clinical research topic for investigation.



Literature Review (1200 words) 

Enables student to demonstrate skills in academic writing, referencing, and to develop a search strategy and locate evidence for the clinical research topic. 


LO2, LO3, LO4

Poster/Oral Presentation Resource   

Enables students to disseminate results of their investigation to the wider student and clinical partner community through development of a poster or oral presentation.


LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Bayes, S., & Ewens, B. (2017). Registered nurses’ experiences of caring for pregnant and postpartum women in general hospital settings: a systematic review and meta‐synthesis of qualitative data. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 26(5-6), 599-608. 

Bloxsome, D., Ireson, D., Doleman, G., & Bayes, S. (2019). Factors associated with midwives’ job satisfaction and intention to stay in the profession: An integrative review. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 28(3-4), 386-399. 

Buchanan, K., Velandia, M., Weckend, M., & Bayes, S. (2021). Learning objectives of cultural immersion programs: A scoping review. Nurse Education Today, 100, 104832.

De Leo, A., Bayes, S., Geraghty, S., & Butt, J. (2019). Midwives' use of best available evidence in practice: An integrative review. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 28(23-24), 4225-4235.

Greenhalgh, T, M., Bidwell, J., Warland, J., Lambros, A., & Crisp, E. (Eds.). (2019). Understanding Research Methods for Evidence-Based Practice in Health (2nd ed.). Wiley.

Greenhalgh, T. (2018). How to Implement Evidence-Based Healthcare. Wiley

Liamputtong, P. (Ed.) (2019) Handbook of Research Methods in Health Social Sciences. Springer Nature.

Wang, C. C., Zhu, R., Ge, L., Tufanaru, C., Bayes, S., & De Jong, G. (2018). Effectiveness of acupuncture as an adjunct treatment for women with postnatal depression: a systematic review protocol. JBI Database of System Reviews and Implementation Reports, 16(11), 2080-2084.

Whitehead, D., Ferguson, C., LoBiondo-Wood, G., & Haber, J. (Ed.) (2020). Nursing and Midwifery Research: Methods and Appraisal for Evidence Based Practice (6th ed.). Elsevier.

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