Midwifery conference calls to strengthen services

Strengthening midwifery education standards to improve maternity services was the call at the recent Trans-Tasman Midwifery Education conference.

Hosted by Griffith’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, the conference was held on the Gold Coast from 20-21 September and had the aim of “Transforming Midwifery Practice through Education”.

“It is important that midwifery education standards are shaped to drive best policy and practice, and the engagement of the profession through the consortium and conference is key to enabling this outcome,” said keynote speaker Professor Mary Renfrew.

A professor of Mother and Infant Health at the University of Dundee, Professor Renfrew is a midwife, health researcher and educator and has previously worked in the Universities of York, Leeds and Oxford.

“Midwifery is a vital solution to the challenges of providing high quality maternal and newborn care for all women and infants in all countries,” she told conference delegates.

Prior to the session, Professor Renfrew also visited the Logan Community Maternity Hubs which was established early this year.

“I met some tremendous practitioners working together to build a service that really meets the needs of women and babies,” she said. “I  talked with women and families and could see that there were lots of challenges – deprivation, culture, complex clinical needs, and social problems.”

Other presentations at the conference included one by Professor Roianne West who spoke about “Closing the Gap with transformative Indigenous Midwifery Education and Practice”.

Professor West told delegates that to truly transform midwifery practice through education and close the gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies and other mothers and babies, we need to become more sophisticated in integrating Aboriginal Health philosophy and education philosophy.

To this end she proposed an integration of transformative decolonising learning theories within a cultural safety educational model.

Professor Renfrew also joined the School at the Logan campus for an informal session to talk about evidence-based design of maternity services using The Lancet series on Midwifery, Quality Maternal and Newborn Care Framework.