Publications & Reports

Midwifery pre-registration education and mid-career workforce participation and experiences.

Annabel Sheehy, Rachel M Smith, Joanne E Gray, Caroline S E Homer
Centre for Midwifery, Child and Family Health, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.


BACKGROUND: Midwives in Australia are educated through a range of routes providing flexible ways to become a midwife. Little is known about whether the route to registration impacts on mid-career experiences, in particular, whether the pathway (post-nursing pathway compared with ‘direct-entry’) makes any difference. AIM: The aim of this study was to explore the midwifery workforce experiences and participation in graduates six to seven years after completing either a post-nursing Graduate Diploma in Midwifery (GradDip) or an undergraduate degree, the Bachelor of Midwifery (BMid), from one university in New South Wales, Australia. METHODS: Data were collected from mid-career midwives having graduated from one NSW university from 2007-2008 using a survey. The survey included validated workforce participation instruments - the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), the Practice Environment Scale-Nursing Work Index (PES-NWI) and the Perceptions of Empowerment in Midwifery Scale (PEMS). RESULTS: There were 75 respondents: 40% (n=30) Bachelor of Midwifery and 60% (n=45) GradDip graduates. The age range was 27-56 years old (mean age=36 years) Bachelor of Midwifery graduates being on average 7.6 years older than Graduate Diploma in Midwifery graduates (40 vs 33 years; p<0.01). Almost 80% (59), were currently working in midwifery. Nine of the 12 not working in midwifery (75%) planned to return. There were no differences in workforce participation measures between the two educational pathways. Working in a continuity of care model was protective in regards to remaining in the profession. CONCLUSION: Most mid-career graduates were still working in midwifery. There were no differences between graduates from the two pathways in relation to burnout, practice experiences or perceptions of empowerment.


  • Journal: Women and Birth
  • Published: 02/07/2018
  • Volume: Epub ahead of print