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Midwife

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Summary of occupation

Midwives provide care and advice to women during and after pregnancy, including labour and birth. Midwifery tasks include physical and technical care, assistance with newborn babies and ongoing monitoring, assessing and reporting of mother and child.

Midwife meaning 'with woman' is founded on respect for women and on a strong belief in the value of women's work of bearing and rearing each generation.

There are approximately 5000 midwives registered in Western Australia, the majority of who work in public and private hospitals within the metropolitan area and major regional centres.

ANZSCO description: Provides care and advice to women during pregnancy, labour and childbirth, and postnatal care for women and babies in a range of settings such as the home, community, hospitals, clinics and health units. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names: Certified Midwife, Registered Midwife
Specialisations: Community Midwife, Community Midwifery Specialist, Midwife Practitioner, Midwifery Educator, Midwifery Manager, Midwifery Researcher, Midwifery Unit Manager
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A midwife needs:

  • a caring nature and enthusiasm for birthing
  • good communication skills
  • to assume responsibility and take leadership
  • to take initiative in emergencies
  • to be able to work under pressure
  • to provide speciality information and advice about pregnancy and birth
  • tolerance and patience and be able to interact with people from a wide range of backgrounds
  • to work as part of a team
  • to be mentally and physically fit
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Working conditions

Midwives usually work according to a rotating seven day roster which includes morning, afternoon and night shifts, weekends and public holidays.

Registered midwives may work in public and private hospitals, community and home-based services including doctors' surgeries, community health centres, youth and women's shelters, and remote and rural areas.

Midwives are also employed in nursing agencies, international aid agencies and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Many are self-employed and manage their own businesses, hours of work and caseloads.

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Salary details

On average, midwives can expect to earn between $1 538 and $1 731 per week ($80 000 and $90 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a midwife develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase. 

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Tools and technologies

Midwives are skilled in the use of complex medical equipment including electronic foetal heart monitors, IV lines and equipment for resuscitation.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a midwife, you have to study midwifery at university. Alternatively, you can undertake a degree in nursing, followed by a postgraduate qualification in midwifery.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

To work as a midwife in Western Australia, you must obtain professional registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, and hold a current Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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