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Keywords:

  • Australia;
  • Child and Family Health;
  • Child Development;
  • Credentialing;
  • Curriculum;
  • Education Standards;
  • Maternal Child Health;
  • Nursing Education

KRUSKE S. & GRANT J. (2012) Educational preparation for maternal, child and family health nurses in Australia. International Nursing Review59, 200–207

Aim:  The study aims to map and critique the current postgraduate educational nursing programmes offered to nurses and midwives in maternal, child and family health in Australia.

Background:  Nursing specialties that focus on the early years of child health and development are based on international recognition of the developmental needs of the growing infant and of the social, health and economic consequences of failing to support families to raise their children in optimal environments. Little is known whether the educational programmes that prepare maternal, child and family health nurses (MCFHNs) for practice in Australia have kept up with new knowledge and understanding of the early years of life.

Methods:  A survey of all maternal, child and family health education programmes offered in Australia was undertaken.

Findings:  Marked variations in course titles, length, content, clinical exposure and award exist across the 12 institutions offering such programmes in Australia. Many institutions provide inadequate preparation in some of the core skills required of the workforce.

Conclusion:  The establishment of minimum standards for the education of MCFHNs across Australia is required. This study also highlights the need for further research around the scope of practice of MCFHNs, and the role of midwives who are not nurses, in this specialty area.