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Undergraduate midwifery education

How are midwives educated?

To enter the Midwifery degree programme applicants must meet the prerequisites as specified by the School of Midwifery.  The undergraduate degree is 4800 hours. This is equivalent to a four year academic degree and ensures students have the opportunity to provide continuity of care for women throughout their childbearing experience.

The degree requires students to have clinical placements and practice in hospital, the community, urban and rural settings.

There are four accredited pre-registration midwifery programmes currently available in New Zealand and are provided by:

Auckland University of Technology (AUT): Auckland, Northland, Taranaki

Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec): Hamilton, Waikato, Tairawhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua/Lakes

Ara Institute of Canterbury (Ara): Christchurch, Nelson/Marlborough, West Coast, South Canterbury

Otago Polytechnic: Dunedin, Wellington region (including Wairarapa, Hutt Valley and Kapiti Coast), Manawatu (including Palmerston North, Whanganui), Central

Each has satellite hubs so that students can remain close to home and work in the community where they will ultimately practice as a midwife. This has been a successful recruitment strategy for the profession.

The theoretical content and educational frameworks are nationally consistent and meet 100% of the international regulatory and education standards.

Students must undertake and achieve as a minimum:

  • 100 physical pregnancy assessments
  • Provide care to women during normal labour and birth (40 women)
  • 100 physical postnatal assessments of the mother
  • 100 physical assessments of the baby
  • Observe and provide continuity of care from pregnancy, through the birth and into the postnatal period for at least 25 women
  • Participate in the care of 40 women with pregnancy complications and complicated births.

How do student midwives gain practical experience?

Clinical placements for students include working in antenatal wards, postnatal wards, birthing suites, neonatal units and also in the community with midwife Lead Maternity Carers.

Students are required to work alongside experienced midwives, obstetricians, physicians, anaesthetists, neonatal nurses, paediatricians, neonatologists, general practitioners, social workers, Women’s Refuge, nutritionists, lactation consultants, Plunket, Tamariki Ora providers plus other services that interface with the maternity service.

The majority of the midwifery student’s third year is in midwifery practice (80%) where she works alongside assigned experienced midwife Lead Maternity Caregivers (LMC) and core midwives to gain experience in a range of settings.

The undergraduate midwifery student works with midwives and colleagues from a range of disciplines to ensure the woman is able to access the care she requires in a seamless manner.

What happens at the end of their study?

Once the theoretical and practise requirements are achieved students graduate with a Bachelor of Midwifery degree. They cannot enter the Midwifery Council Register of Midwives until they have also passed the National Midwifery Examination. This exam is set by the Midwifery Council and meets the requirements for registration as outlined by the Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Act (2003).

Once registered with Midwifery Council all graduate midwives in New Zealand must participate in the Midwifery First Year of Practice Programme which is an educational and professional support programme funded by the Ministry of Health that enables graduates to consolidate their practice under guidance of a named mentor midwife.