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Language used to describe the Australian midwifery workforce: A change opportunity to improve professional identity
journal contributionposted on 2023-02-20, 22:11 authored by Kathryn Felicity BrundellKathryn Felicity Brundell, Vidanka VasilevskiVidanka Vasilevski, T Farrell, Linda SweetLinda Sweet
Background: Tertiary level midwifery educational pathways to achieve registration as a midwife vary in Australia, with a shift from the hospital to the university sector more than 20 years ago. These pathways are often referred to in the workforce setting to distinguish midwives with different academic backgrounds. Aim: To discuss the genesis of midwifery education in the Australian setting and explore the impact of the language used to describe the educational backgrounds on the professional identity of midwives. Discussion: Strong tertiary and regulatory governance exists to support the robust development of midwifery educational programmes and to ensure a high-quality, woman-centred workforce. Once registered, all midwives have the same skill set to provide care to women and families. However, separatist language is often used to describe midwives according to their educational background which has a propensity to reduce positive midwifery identity and influence continuing workforce attrition rates. Conclusion: Positive expression of midwifery identity, using a strength discourse and an inclusive workforce have the ability to strengthen job satisfaction and intention to remain in the profession. Midwifery education can occur through several pathways; however once registered, all midwives are equal.