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Examining the transformation of midwifery education in Australia to inform future directions: an integrative review

McKellar, Lois; Graham, Kristen; Sheehan, Athena; Fleet, Julie-Anne; Sidebotham, Mary; Sweet, Linda


Kristen Graham

Athena Sheehan

Julie-Anne Fleet

Mary Sidebotham

Linda Sweet


Integral to quality midwifery practice is the education of midwives. Like other countries, Australia faces ongoing challenges in delivering midwifery education programs. Reasons include escalating program costs, challenges in securing meaningful clinical experiences, subsumption of midwifery with nursing, and associated loss of identity in some institutions.
To critically examine the literature exploring the historical and current drivers, supports and impediments for entry-to-practice midwifery programs to identify strategies to strengthen midwifery education in Australia.
A structured integrative literature review using Whittemore and Knafl’s five-stage framework was undertaken; 1) problem identification, 2) literature search, 3) data evaluation, 4) data analysis, and 5) presentation of results.
The literature search identified 50 articles for inclusion. The thematic analysis identified four key themes: i. a commitment to educational reform, ii. building a midwifery workforce, iii. quality maternity care through midwifery education, and iv. progressing excellence in midwifery education.
Extensive literature describes the evolution of midwifery education in Australia over the last 30 years. Through collaboration and amidst opposition, quality midwifery education has been established in Australia. Identification of midwifery as a distinct profession and transformative leadership have been integral to this evolution and must be grown and sustained to prevent a decline in standards or quality.
There is a need to address priorities in midwifery education and for the evaluation of midwifery programs and pedagogy. The provision and maintenance of quality education and practice require shared responsibility between education providers and health care services.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 25, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 3, 2022
Publication Date 2023-03
Deposit Date Dec 6, 2022
Publicly Available Date Dec 6, 2022
Journal Women and Birth
Print ISSN 1871-5192
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 2
Pages 155-166
Keywords Midwifery education, Professional identity, Australia, Transformation, Entry-to-practice, History
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