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Could a postgraduate midwifery course be for you?

James Davis

Careers Commentator
Midwifery is essential to the safety and comfort of mothers and their children everywhere. With the right education, you can gain the skills to enter this noble field.

Midwifery is about caring for expecting mothers before, during and after they give birth. They’re trained to recognise deviations from the norm and be well-versed in delivering children, while also being compassionate and emotionally stalwart to help their clients through one of the most crucial times in their lives. Through their expertise, the process is far smoother.

This article will cover four questions regarding whether or not postgraduate study into midwifery is for you. In answering each, you should have a better idea of whether or not it’d be something for you:

  • What does midwifery entail day-to-day in a professional context and what’s required academically?
  • What are the job prospects like?
  • What’s the salary like?
  • What are your study options?

What does midwifery entail?

Day to day, midwives must successfully monitor the health of patients, identify any possible complications, offer women emotional support and provide practical advice. In the case a client requires emergency care, it’s up to midwives to administer it. After birth, they must provide antenatal care. Without a doubt, it can be a highly stressful job because midwives will often have to be around for the entire birthing process and perform most if not all the duties they were trained for. As such, they must be willing to adapt to changing circumstances and potentially work long hours to administer all such treatment and care.

Postgraduate midwifery courses provide both the technical and interpersonal knowledge required to excel in the field, often containing units in topics like:

  • Foundations of midwifery
  • Complex care in pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium
  • Evidence based practice applied to midwifery
  • Midwifery therapeutics
  • Women’s health and diagnostic reasoning

To enter a postgraduate physiotherapy course, applicants must be no less than a registered nurse or midwife. This means obtaining a nursing degree, completing all necessary placements and getting into a career. Even the lowest level postgraduate midwifery programs require this, so there’s no other way in.

Overall, this isn’t a profession for the faint of heart. You’ll be seeing countless women through a time of simultaneous suffering and joy, which can be an emotionally draining experience. Midwives must be as compassionate as they are resolute; as caring as they are calm and professional. If you’re a person with excellent control over your emotions, communication skills and a high quality work ethic, which you likely have if you’re already a registered nurse, postgraduate midwifery could be for you.

What are the job prospects?

Midwifery is listed among the Australian government’s list of Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills, which we’ve touched on in our student visa article. This means the government deems it in short supply, which is particularly the case in remote or regional Australia. The infrastructure surrounding all the nursing specialisations, not just midwifery, is quite sophisticated; postgraduates have a great chance of getting a job. Nevertheless, it’s advised to get work or volunteering experience that’s at least tangentially relevant to improve your chances. For best chances of getting a job, focussing on rural Australia can not only help a great deal, but also improves your access to scholarships specific to these regions.

What’s the salary like?

According to Payscale Australia, midwives in Australia make AU $50,882 on average per year. This can range between $39,338 starting out to $87,464 when more senior.

Where and how can I study it?

There are several methods of study for aspiring midwives. Remember: these are all exclusively for registered nurses. It’s not possible to apply for any of these, not even the most basic qualifications, if you’re not a registered nurse. For more information on what this means, click here.

  • Graduate certificates take six months full time or up to one year part time to complete. They’re a great way to gain a comparatively quick, rudimentary insight into the field through courses like the Graduate Certificate in Midwifery from the University of Queensland.
  • Courses like the Graduate Diploma of Midwifery from Charles Sturt University are primarily part-time courses, taking one and a half to two years. They allow you to fine-tune your nursing knowledge for later application to midwifery. Units are highly practical, consisting of work placements at various residential schools.
  • The Master of Midwifery Practice from Edith Cowan University and similar courses provide students with an even more extensive understanding of midwifery. They take two years of full time study to complete, with part time options taking between three to four years.

Hopefully now you’ve got a better idea of what it takes to transition from regular nurse to midwife through postgraduate study and what a career in this field might be like. Wherever you choose to take your qualification, we wish you well!