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Examining the transformation of midwifery education in Australia to inform future directions: An integrative review
journal contributionposted on 2023-02-15, 04:33 authored by L McKellar, K Graham, A Sheehan, JA Fleet, M Sidebotham, Linda SweetLinda Sweet
Background: 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. Aim: 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. Methods: 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. Findings: 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. Discussion: 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. Conclusion: 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.