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How can I become a midwife?

To become a midwife in New Zealand you are required to undertake a three year degree programme in Midwifery. This is equivalent to a four year applied degree with a strong science base, and extensive clinical experience in hospital and the community. - click here for more details

I am an overseas midwifery student and looking for an under graduate clinical placement within New Zealand with a midwife or in a maternity facility. How can I go about arranging this?

Clinical elective placements in New Zealand are not easy to obtain as priority is given to New Zealand students. If you wish to seek practice experience as a student midwife in New Zealand you are advised to contact the Undergraduate Schools of Midwifery - click here for links to their websites. You will need to demonstrate support from your own Midwifery School.

As an overseas student you would need to make arrangements for indemnity insurance. The New Zealand Midwifery Schools arrange this for their enrolled students. If you don't have indemnity you will not be able to have "hands on experience" as a student midwife.

I am an overseas qualified midwife looking for work in New Zealand

To be able to work as a midwife in New Zealand you will need to have at least two years’ experience as a midwife before you can apply to the Midwifery Council to go onto the register of midwives and apply for an annual practising certificate (APC). Most overseas qualified midwives will also be required to undertake additional education in order to practice in New Zealand. The Midwifery Council is the regulatory authority for midwives, its function is to assure that any person practising as a midwife meets the requirements for safe practice in this profession. It is not involved with the employment of midwives, practice issues or advertising.

The College of Midwives is the professional association for midwives and provides on-going education, indemnity insurance, and professional support for registered midwives.

New Zealand does not currently have a shortage of midwives, although there are some regions that have shortages. As such you would need to look out for advertisments from district health boards (DHBs) who are recruiting midwives. We do have a situations vacant page on our website. To work in New Zealand you will also require a working visa - you will be able to get an understanding of how to obtain a visa from the NZ immigration website.

I am a qualified nurse, how do I become a midwife?

Midwifery and Nursing are two separate and different degrees and whilst some theory papers may be cross referenced the majority of the midwifery degree will need to be completed. This is because the midwifery degree is based on 50% practice as well as 50% theory. The final year of the midwifery degree is 70% practice with extensive time in either the community with a Lead Maternity Carer or in a hospital setting. There are four schools of midwifery in New Zealand click here for links to their websites. These websites will provide a better understanding of the midwifery degree and you will be able to contact a tutor to discuss further.

Registered health practitioners seeking recognition of prior learning (RPL) for their professional qualification and experience must be registered in New Zealand. They are also required to provide a certificate of ‘Good Standing’ from the relevant registering body in New Zealand.

What is indemnity insurance?

Professional Indemnity Insurance covers the costs and expenses of defending allegations of professional malpractice in the administration of client care. The policy also pays any costs if damages are awarded against you in such cases. For more information click here

What does your NZCOM membership cover?

Our membership fees help to ensure the ongoing integrity, quality and success of midwifery services throughout New Zealand. Click here for more information.

Is the NZ qualification (Bachelor of Midwifery through AUT, WINTEC, ARA or Otago Polytech) recognised overseas? If so, in what countries?

The requirements of the undergraduate education programmes are set by the Midwifery Council of New Zealand and all 4 providers are required to meet these standards. Each country has differing requirements for registration as a midwife, (including language competency in countries in which English is not the native language). As the undergraduate education programme provided in NZ meets the International Confederation of Midwives standards for midwifery education, New Zealand graduates in general have few problems in obtaining registration in overseas countries, as long as they can also meet the country specific requirements to obtain registration. In some larger countries (like the USA for example) each state has its own system of regulation and midwives will need to obtain regulation for the state that they are intending to work in.

LMC Midwives or maternity facilities approached by overseas students for clinical placements need to consider the following:

  • Indemnity insurance: who is indemnifying their practice? Although their university or school of midwifery may state it is covering them for indemnity purposes, their contracts and insurance are usually not valid in NZ. Without effective indemnity cover, international students can only have an observational role.

  • Are there NZ students who are seeking placements at the same time as the overseas student is seeking one – we strongly recommend you contact your local School of Midwifery to discuss this. In general, the College supports midwives to offer clinical placements to NZ students in preference to overseas ones, as NZ students will become our future workforce.

  • Are you aware of where the student is at within their undergraduate programme – eg. a second year student from an overseas programme may not be at the same level as a second year student in a NZ programme.

  • How will you connect with their midwifery school to ensure you have a point of contact for any issues that come up for you or the student regarding their placement - i.e feedback for concerns, clarifying learning needs, framework for assessment etc.

  • Does the school have a learning agreement or contract for you to consider? Is it appropriate for the NZ context? The contract the Universities provide are not generally related to clinical experience in other countries. The contracts usually require you to abide by the policies of the University when having students etc - how will you do this?

  • How well prepared is the student for the NZ context of care – do they understand the model of care, cultural differences and specifics of the NZ population.

  • What are the expectations of the DHB or any maternity facilities that the student may be accessing during the placement – i.e MRSA, oversight, indemnity etc.

  • Remember, registered midwives supervising students are fully accountable for their practice. Hosting an overseas student may be problematic if you are not well supported by the school of origin or have limited ability to seek advice and support from the school.

How often are the Midwifery News and the College's Journal published

The Midwifery News is published quarterly and the Journal is printed once a year (with individual articles disseminated electronically once available for publishing). If you hold a current membership these will be posted directly to your home.

How do I get back dated copies of the Midwifery News or Journals?

All new members receive the most recent Midwifery News and Journal issue that we have in stock. Any other back dated issues can be purchased through the College.

I have not received the latest copy of the Midwifery News/Journal - why?

Please contact the membership administrator to ensure your contact details are up to date.