Regional SA campus delivers new Bachelor of Midwifery

Wednesday, 28 September, 2022

Regional SA campus delivers new Bachelor of Midwifery

The University of South Australia is introducing a new Bachelor of Midwifery at its Whyalla campus from 2023.

In Australia, there is a maldistribution of midwives in rural and regional areas with unfilled vacancies and difficulties recruiting adding to workforce shortages.

Dr Angela Brown, UniSA’s Bachelor of Midwifery Program Director, said, “The new midwifery degree at Whyalla will enhance availability of training locally for regional students, providing additional locally trained staff that can work regionally and improve midwifery shortages.

“Regional communities need local midwives who can provide quality healthcare for mothers and families,” Brown said.

“Time and time again we hear of mothers travelling long distances to access maternity services — sometimes for urgent care, but often several weeks ahead of their baby’s due date to ensure they have appropriate care when their baby is born — and we know that this can be very stressful for women and families alike.

“Students will be working in partnership with staff in the Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network (FUNLHN), so they’ll gain clinical knowledge and hands-on experience from highly skilled regional midwives already working in our local antenatal, birthing and postnatal models of care.

Whyalla midwifery students will also participate in UniSA’s unique Continuity of Care Experience (CoCE), where student midwives are paired with pregnant women to provide supervised care throughout the pregnancy, birth and postnatal period. During this program, students are directly involved in a minimum of 30 births during their studies and participate in the pre- and post-birth care of many more women.

Lyndell Eckert, Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Whyalla Hospital, said the new degree is a welcomed addition to current regional health services.

“Midwifery training that’s closer to home for regional students will be an asset to recruiting and retaining locally trained midwives and continuing our midwifery services for women in our community.

“New midwives would then be well placed to gain employment in the FUNLHN in our Aboriginal Birthing Programs, at the Port Augusta Hospital or in the Whyalla Midwifery Group Practice.”

Health and Wellbeing Minister Chris Picton said the new degree opens new opportunities for regional students.

Applications to study in 2023 are now open. Prospective students are encouraged to apply by the 30 September early application deadline.

UniSA also offers its Bachelor of Midwifery degree at its City East (Adelaide) and Mount Gambier campuses.

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