The programme provides midwives with the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of women and their families in an individualised, culturally sensitive manner. The first three years combine learning in both university and midwifery practice in the maternity hospitals and will take place during the academic year with usual academic holidays. Midwifery students will also undertake other practice placements, for example, mental health, medical, surgical etc. The final year will include a 36 week period of internship in midwifery practice for which the students will be salaried.
The programme content will cover such areas as:
- Midwifery practice – knowledge and skills
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Professional, personal, ethical and legal issues
- Knowledge base for midwifery practice to include: Biological sciences, psychology, pharmacology, non-pharmaceutical approaches
- Sociology for midwifery practice
- Health promotion
- Maternal and social care services in Ireland
Giving birth is a unique and special time for each woman and her family. It is a time of major change for families, especially for those becoming parents for the first time. Each woman, journeying through pregnancy and birth, draws from her individual life experiences and these influence her unique perceptions of and expectations for birth. Childbirth is a life changing physiological event for the whole family.
The term ‘midwife’ means ‘with woman’. The concept of partnership between the woman and the midwife is fundamental to midwifery practice and is based on mutual trust, support and collaboration. The midwife uses midwifery skills to provide care that is individual to each woman and recognises the woman’s ownership of her birth experience. Care for women experiencing a physiological pregnancy and birth is the core of practice of the midwife. The midwife is the key professional providing continuity of care and promoting choice and control to women in pregnancy and birth, and to women and their babies following birth.
The provision of midwifery care is constantly evolving to respond to the changing needs of women in Ireland and their families. Midwives provide care in maternity hospitals/units, the newly developed midwife-led units and increasingly through the provision of midwife-led services in the community. Midwives also work in partnership with obstetricians and other members of the healthcare team in particular when women experience complications in pregnancy and birth.
A variety of assessment methods will be used and aims to contribute to the student’s learning and self, peer and teacher assessment. Assessment of learning in midwifery practice is an important component of the programme and will take place throughout the programme. Other forms of assessment include written examinations and assignments, presentations, debates, teaching sessions etc.