Western Sydney University celebrates 10 years of excellence in midwifery

Western Sydney University is celebrating 10 years of fostering the next generation of midwives in western Sydney and beyond.

Established in 2013, the Bachelor of Midwifery program has graduated over 240 midwives, who have gone on to provide vital care to pregnant, birthing and postnatal women.

The School of Nursing and Midwifery celebrated the anniversary with staff and students at the University’s Parramatta South campus on Thursday, 23 November.

The event included speeches from Professor Deborah Hatcher, Dean of the School of Nursing, and Midwifery and past students and alumni, who shared stories of where their studies have taken them in their midwifery careers.

Professor Deborah Hatcher said the School was proud to educate skilled midwives with the expertise to support women and their families during pregnancy, birth and beyond.

“The Bachelor of Midwifery is an essential program within the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Embedded in western Sydney and working with our valued partners, the program is developing and nurturing highly skilled midwives,” said Professor Hatcher.

“We are fortunate to have some world leading midwifery professors working in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, such as Professor Virginia Schmied and Professor Hannah Dahlen AM, who are informing education and research development of our future midwives.

“Our graduates work in public and private hospitals, in private practice and in a variety of continuity models of care, providing high quality care and supporting our health system.”

Associate Professor Elaine Burns from the School of Nursing and Midwifery played a key role in the University launching the degree offering.

“In 2011, Dr Margie Duff and I worked closely together to develop the first ever Bachelor of Midwifery at Western Sydney University,” said Associate Professor Burns.

“We launched the course in 2013 and it has been exciting to see the course go from strength to strength each year, thanks to curriculum enhancements led by subsequent Director of Academic Program leads Associate Professor Athena Sheehan, and Fiona Arundell.”

As well as studying the theory behind midwifery practice, Western midwifery students have the opportunity to meet and assist 10 expectant mothers to gain first-hand experience in midwifery continuity of care.

This is done through clinical placements and on-campus simulated clinical practice settings, which equip students with the skills to deliver evidence-based midwifery care that will benefit pregnant and birthing women in Australia and around the world.

Having a passion for midwifery for years, Tracey Bencetti completed further tertiary study in Occupational Therapy and Social Work before deciding to pursue her interests at Western’s Parramatta South campus as a Bachelor of Midwifery student.

“I love woman centered care. I feel honoured to share vulnerable moments in a woman’s life and am thankful for the opportunity to journey with them,” said Tracey.

“I inject much of my past experience into midwifery and feel it’s important to look at the bigger picture and take a holistic view of their lives to maximise their support systems and advocate for the best care.”

A non-current school leaver and the first in her family to attend university, the Blue Mountains resident said she chose the University based on positive feedback and flexibility to her personal needs, with it exceeding her expectations.

“I have loved university. The highlight of this experience is meeting the most amazing cohort and beautiful future midwives, journeying together and making lifelong friends.”

The School of Nursing and Midwifery acknowledged the many partners and organisations who support the Bachelor of Midwifery program, including Local Health Districts that facilitate highly valuable placements for students.

ENDS

24 November 2023

Emily Feszczuk, Media Officer