Werna Naloo –‘We Us Together’: the birth of a midwifery education consortium


Diane Cutts,
School of Nursing and Midwifery,
St Albans Campus,
Victoria University of Technology,
PO Box 14428,
Melbourne City MC 8001,
E-mail: diane.cutts@vu.edu.au


Aim.  The metaphor of a journey will be used to describe the process covering 2 years of development of a Bachelor of Midwifery curriculum shared between a consortium of three universities in Victoria, Australia.

Background.  The landscape or background against which this journey took place is described, providing a context for understanding the political and pragmatic steps necessary to achieve common vision and processes. This journey has necessitated a convergence of our thinking about what constitutes the living theory and philosophy of the new midwifery in the Australian context, and how this fits with international trends.

Process.  The journey took midwife academics from one paradigm to another, forging partnerships between universities to develop an innovative undergraduate midwifery curriculum that shares academic expertise and resources. Consultation between a multitude of competing interests and voices became one of our biggest challenges, but this process itself has helped to change the very landscape in which we travel. In the end, we had to examine our baggage, and much that was excess had to be abandoned. In particular, our emphasis on language and the politics of the midwifery partnership with women became the subject of much debate and contention, and reflects the competing philosophies developing in the midwifery profession. Despite this, there were many who suggested that we had left behind too much, and others who would have us pack even more. Compromises were inevitable if we were to proceed and set up the next stage of a journey that would open a new and challenging frontier to working with Australian childbearing women.