Celebrating International Midwives Day on 5th May, 2015

and International Nurses Day on 12th May, 2015

Midwives around the world celebrate the “International Day of the Midwife” on May 5th every year.  The aim of the day is to celebrate midwifery and to bring awareness of the importance of midwives’ work to as many people around the world as possible.

For more information call the Australian College of Midwives on 1300 360 480

And Nurses around the world celebrate International Nurses Day every May 12th, recognizing the amazing work of nurses which is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

The Hippocratic Oath – First Do No Harm – is the oath taken by doctors, but also equally applies to midwives and nurses.

Being a midwife means you carry immense responsibility and very little authority.

You step into people’s lives and make a difference.

Some bless you, most curse you.

You see people at their worst and at their best.

You see life begin and end.

You see people’s capacity for love, courage and endurance, and when theirs runs out, you give them yours.

Thank God for midwives!


Midwifery is both an art and a science (Downe, 1998).  The Australian College of Midwives (ACM), recognised this philosophy at its 2011 biennial conference in Sydney, Australia.


The word Midwife means “with woman”.  Midwives come from a place of honesty and integrity.

A midwife is a health professional who, in partnership with a woman, provides specialist care, education and support during pregnancy, birth, postnatal and the early parenting period.  Midwives believe that pregnancy and childbirth are normal and significant life events for women and their families (which they are), and respect and support this transition (Australian College of Midwives -NSW Branch).


Here in Australia, there are three pathways to become a midwife.  The first way is to undertake a Bachelor of Nursing Degree at University which is three years but would be four years if combined as a double degree such as Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Naturopathy, Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Economics etc.  After completeion, it would then be necessary to undertake a one year graduate nurse program in a hospital, where you will consolidate your general nursing knowledge and skills.   After completing a general nursing graduate year program, you would then need to complete a one year full time or two year part time Graduate Diploma in Midwifery at a University.  This will give you registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board as a certified Midwife and you will register yearly with APHRA – Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.  You can then work as a midwife in a graduate program in a hospital where you would consolidate your midwifery knowledge for another year.

The second pathway to become a midwife is to undertake a double degree of Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Midwifery.  After completion, you will need to undertake a one year graduate program in a hospital.  Usually six months will be undertaken in general nursing and the other six months in midwifery.  You will be registered both as a nurse and midwife, so in my opinion I believe this is the best option.

The third pathway is to undertake a three year Bachelor of Midwifery program at university.  Upon completion, you will regisitered as a midwife only, and not as a general nurse.  Because of this limitation, you will be unable to complete a post graduate diploma in child and family health nursing, which would give the qualifications of a Maternal & Child Health Nurse.  So do keep this in mind if Maternal & Child Health nursing is of interest to you.  Maternal & Child Health nursing is a very rewarding career where you work with families in a community setting, supporting and strengthening communities through the early years. Maternal & Child Health nurses work normal day hours with no shift work as is always required in the hospital setting.

Registration as a midwife is dependent upon successful completion of a recognised midwifery education program, and continuing demonstration of the necessary knowledge, skill and experience to provide safe and professional midwifery care (Australian College of Midwives – NSW Branch).  Registration as a registered nurse and endorsed midwife is with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) and is maintained by APHRA .  Registrations must be renewed yearly.

Downe, S. (1998) “Caring and sharing: developing the art and science of midwifery”, British Journal of Midwifery, 6(7):427.

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