Griffith University’s Bachelor of Midwifery is growing its international reputation as universities in Sweden prepare to take up the Griffith approach to the profession.

Professors Ingegerd Hildingsson and Dr Christine Rubertsson from Mid Sweden University and Uppsala University are visiting Griffith to understand more about the award-winning Bachelor of Midwifery program which began in 2010 and now boasts a 100 per cent employment rate for its graduates.

“We are extremely flattered to welcome the Swedish professors to Griffith to hear more about the success of our midwifery programs and how they can adapt their own in a similar manner,” says Professor Jenny Gamble from Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland.

“Our Swedish colleagues are interested to implement midwifery programs in Sweden that do not require students to have first completed a nursing degree. This is the approach Midwifery@Griffith has taken as it is important for graduate midwives to develop a strong professional identity as a midwife.”

Growing international reputation

“At Griffith, we have a rapidly growing international reputation, particularly with regard to our focus on providing woman-centred case load midwifery care, within a primary health model. Our programs, which also include the new Masters in Primary Maternity Care, also reflect an increasing demand to expand primary maternity services to include midwives working in private practice.

“These programs not only prepare midwives to work within changing maternity service settings, but also to be actively involved in designing and reorienting these services,” says Professor Gamble.

Professor Hildingsson says the visiting Swedish academics have an interest in midwifery programs that have a clear philosophy of midwifery care and which produce a skilled, reflective and scientifically grounded midwife.

“In Sweden we are planning to introduce a masters level (5years) midwifery program and I believe that we have a lot to learn from direct entry programs such as the one offered by Griffith. The midwifery team has shared the Griffith curriculum with us and this visit is a valuable opportunity to learn more about the programs and discuss the clinical issues with health service partners.”

“In Sweden the current midwifery education is 18 months following a nursing degree of 3 years. It usually takes 3-4 years of clinical work as a nurse before being admitted to a midwifery program. This means that it takes a long time even to start midwifery education, which makes it an expensive way to grow a midwifery workforce.

“In addition we would like to know more about the continuity of midwifery care and how that is built into the program with Griffith’s Bachelor of Midwifery,” she says.

“There are other factors driving change in Sweden. Currently we have 13 universities offering midwifery education and recently it has been difficult to fill the number of student midwife places.

“This runs alongside a shortage of midwives, and an aging midwifery workforce, so we face the prospect of a huge increase in retirement numbers in coming years.”

Professor Hildingsson and Dr Rubertsson are visiting Logan Hospital – a practice partner hospital – this week and will be seeing first hand, how Griffith midwifery students are integrating their learning with a clinical placement setting.

Logan Hospital director of Nursing and Midwifery Lorraine Stevenson said the hospital’s midwifery team has been working closely with the School at Griffith’s Logan campus since the introduction of the Bachelor of Midwifery.

“The formation of a professional partnership with Griffith has opened up the opportunity for clinicians to be involved in clinical teaching sessions at the university and the short courses that they provide.

“A collaborative partnership enhances the maternity services and quality outcomes for mothers, babies and families through the development of research and quality initiatives.”