Mrs Sue Hughes1
1Tasmanian Health Service – Hospitals South. Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart, Australia
Australia is regarded as a safe country in which to have a baby and compares well on a number of accepted measures of safety and quality of care. However, as for all systems of health care and service delivery, there are areas for continued improvement.
The Tasmanian Health Service values the contribution of midwives in improving the outcomes for women and their babies. This aligns with the Strategic Directions for Australian Maternity Services (the Strategy) which provides overarching national strategic directions to support Australia’s high-quality maternity care system. This includes supporting midwives to work collaboratively to extend their full scope of practice and enable them to provide compassionate, reliable woman-centred care that is timely, appropriate and supports wellbeing.
Work began in 2020 to facilitate the introduction of public sector midwives, with endorsement, to enable them to work to their full scope of practise. Endorsed Midwives are currently practicing in public and private maternity hospitals across all mainland states and territories, with Tasmania being the only state that has not adopted this model.
Having endorsed midwives in the public hospital setting has the potential to improve outcomes by ensuring that women receive the treatment they need in a more timely way. It also empowers midwives build strong collaborative partnerships with their medical and allied health colleagues.
This paper presents the journey of implementing this new midwifery scope of practice in Tasmania, the work behind establishing the processes, including the identification of infrastructure, support requirements, pitfalls to avoid and outcomes.
Sue works in the Office of the Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Tasmanian Health Service, Hospitals South, as a Project Nurse/Midwife Workforce Development & Standards.
Her clinical background is in women’s and children’s health services. She has experience in nursing and midwifery education, management, workforce, regulation, clinical redesign and project management. She is passionate to empower nurses and midwives reach their full potential.
She is a member of the Australian College of Midwives and a Fellow in the Australian College of Nursing.