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University Develops New Programme To Become A Midwife

New midwifery programme is expected to begin in 2025. Photo supplied.

In celebration of International Day of the Midwife, the University of Waikato has today announced its plans to offer a new graduate-entry midwifery programme.

The programme was initiated in response to chronic midwifery workforce shortages.

Professor Jo Lane, Dean of Te Huataki Wairoa School of Health says that the University of Waikato is committed to meeting the health workforce needs of our region and to working in collaboration with local health stakeholders.

“One of the country’s biggest health workforce shortages is in midwifery, where it is estimated we need to increase the current workforce by 30 to 40 percent. As a University, we stand firmly behind our motto, Ko Te Tangata – For the People. So when we were approached about developing a new midwifery programme, we had to act.”

While the new graduate-entry midwifery programme will be a first in Aotearoa, Professor Lane says that graduate-entry Master’s degrees like this are an increasingly common model of education.

“Internationally, graduate-entry programmes have been successfully delivered for decades for a wide range of health professions, including midwifery. As a country, we already have graduate-entry programmes in nursing and physiotherapy, and next year the University of Waikato expects to be delivering New Zealand’s first graduate-entry pharmacy programme,” Professor Lane says.

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Professor Lane says that with many people now pursuing multiple careers throughout their working lives, the need for new models of education that enable career change has never been greater. This is a key theme of last year’s Health Workforce Plan 2023/24 by Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora, which concludes:

“We need pathways that are adaptive, with easy transfer of skills between health professions and careers.” 

Experienced local midwife and owner of the Waterford Birth Centre, Tracey Aubin, thinks the new programme will help to attract new students to the midwifery profession.

“Many people become interested in midwifery at a later stage of life. This new programme provides an accessible pathway for other health professionals to become midwives, recognising their background skills and experience. It’s great to have a programme like this to complement the existing traditional Bachelor of Midwifery programmes.”

The programme is expected to begin in 2025, with an initial cohort of 20 students.

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