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Midwifery practice: moving towards professional status and community recognition


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Clay, DA 2007 , 'Midwifery practice: moving towards professional status and community recognition' , Nuritinga - Electronic Journal of Nursing, no. 8 , 1- 7 .

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Historically, midwifery has struggled to gain and maintain professional status and identity. Amid the challenges of
fulfilling the characteristics of a profession (Flexner 1915, Bixler& Bixler 1959, Pavalko 1971, cited in Ellis, Hartley
2004, pg. 156) and working under the subsumption as a special branch of nursing, midwifery practice has been
influenced, defined and governed by Codes of Ethics, Practice and Conduct. However, recognition and acceptance by
the general public and other professionals is the ultimate goal of any professional group (Wilkerson, 1998). Increasing
public awareness of midwives has a dual role in that it also provides women with knowledge of models of care in
pregnancy, thereby promoting the World Health Organisation recommendation: ‘the need for every woman to have
skilled care in pregnancy, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period…midwives are the most appropriate primary
health care provider…’ (WHO 1996, pp 1, 7). Therefore, community awareness of midwifery needs to be raised to
achieve these objectives. In this paper, I will consider the Nursing Board of Tasmania’s (NBT) ‘Code of Practice for
Midwives in Tasmania’ 2003 and the Australian College of Midwives’ (ACMI) ‘Code of Ethics’ 2001. After
exploring these documents, I will outline the role they, and the organisations controlling them, have in regards to the
professional practice of midwives. I will then look briefly (due to size constraints of this assignment) at strategies the
profession can adopt to raise community knowledge of the role and function of the midwife.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Clay, DA
Journal or Publication Title: Nuritinga - Electronic Journal of Nursing
Publisher: School of Nursing & Midwifery
ISSN: 1440-1541
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