Midwives get set to prescribe medications

Midwife Daniel Evans

For midwife Daniel Evans, receiving a prescriber number and a script pad with which to prescribe medication, is recognition of the important role the midwife plays in society.

A Newcastle-based midwife with ten years experience, Daniel is one of the first graduates from Griffith University’s Screening, Diagnostics, Pharmacology and Prescribing for Midwives program.

A new online course, it prepares those in the profession for contemporary prescribing practice in Australia, with students developing the skills required to prescribe medications and diagnostic/screening tests relevant to the midwifery scope of practice in a legal, safe and effective manner.

Recent research has demonstrated that continuity of midwifery care has a profound and significantly positive impact on pregnancy and birth outcomes for women.

“It’s so exciting to now have the ability to prescribe medications to women rather than defer to another medical professional,” says Daniel. “Previously, midwives had to ask GPs and specialists to organise not only medications, but also routine testing/screeningsuch as ultrasounds and blood tests.

More effective continuity of care

“Having professional midwives endorsed to perform these tasks – thanks to participating in a program such as the Griffith one, is a real advantage as we can provide more effective continuity of care and better outcomes for pregnant women and new mothers.”

At the same time, midwife prescribers can help reduce the burden on our medical colleagues who are otherwise required to write prescriptions and request screening/diagnostic testing for pregnant women they may not know or perhaps have
never met.

Daniel is now aiming to run his own private midwifery practice, Best Life Birth Pty Ltd with colleague and fellow Griffith graduate, Lynelle Hill, alongside continuing to participate as a midwife with long-term employer, Hunter New England Area Health Service.

Daniel says the 15 week Griffith program was very flexible in being completely online.

“It was great to be able to complete the ten or more hours each week, during my own time around my work and family commitments.

“Progressing my skills and career outlook in this way has been so beneficial for my future career and for building my own business which is set to get underway later this year.

“The course convenor and the lecturers were really helpful and provided a course which is completely applicable to everyday midwifery practice,” says Daniel. “They provide great support to students, with lecturers that are available and accessible to listen to our issues and questions.”

Dr Kirsten Small, lecturer for the School of Nursing and Midwifery says the program has been very successful, with very high ratings from students last semester. “We’re seeing a high demand for it, with over 90 students enrolled this semester and enquiriesalready starting to flow in for semester 2.

“I have always been confident that midwives would rise to the challenge and become safe prescribers, given the right training.

“Midwives are being trained on these important areas and have the time and the communication skills to share what they know about medications with the women in their care.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how that training now translates into practice for our graduates. I have no doubt that prescribing in the hands of midwives in private practice will enhance safety for women and their children.”