Role of the Midwife

Cate Nagle
Professor of Nursing and Midwifery
James Cook University

Cate Nagle examines the role of the midwife in contemporary Australia and the complexity of factors that impinge on it. She profiles the modern Australian midwife, their most likely locations as well as the available models of midwife care.

Her sustained advocacy for the role of the midwife was acknowledged in 2018 when she led the development of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s Midwife Standards for Practice.

There are numerous practice challenges because maternity care in Australia is a contested space. She makes the point that despite numerous reviews and calls for reform over decades and recognised effective collaboration between midwifery and medicine, the best use of the midwife’s complementary skills is yet to be achieved. As a result, Australian midwives are not working to the full scope of their practice.