Midwives get set to prescribe medications

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For midwife Daniel Evans, receiving a prescriber number and a script pad with which to prescribe medication, is recognition of the important role the midwife plays in society.

A Newcastle-based midwife with ten years experience, Daniel is one of the first graduates from Griffith University’s Screening, Diagnostics, Pharmacology and Prescribing for Midwives program.

A new online course, it prepares those in the profession for contemporary prescribing practice in Australia, with students developing the skills required to prescribe medications and diagnostic/screening tests relevant to the midwifery scope of practice in a legal, safe and effective manner.

Recent research has demonstrated that continuity of midwifery care has a profound and significantly positive impact on pregnancy and birth outcomes for women.

“It’s so exciting to now have the ability to prescribe medications to women rather than defer to another medical professional,” says Daniel. “Previously, midwives had to ask GPs and specialists to organise not only medications, but also routine testing/screening such as ultrasounds and blood tests.

More effective continuity of care

“Having professional midwives endorsed to perform these tasks – thanks to participating in a program such as the Griffith one, is a real advantage as we can provide more effective continuity of care and better outcomes for pregnant women and new mothers.”

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At the same time, midwife prescribers can help reduce the burden on our medical colleagues who are otherwise required to write prescriptions and request screening/diagnostic testing for pregnant women they may not know or perhaps have never met.

Dr Kirsten Small, lecturer for the School of Nursing and Midwifery says the program has been very successful, with very high ratings from students last semester. “We’re seeing a high demand for it, with over 90 students enrolled this semester and enquiries already starting to flow in for semester 2.

“I have always been confident that midwives would rise to the challenge and become safe prescribers, given the right training.

“Midwives are being trained on these important areas and have the time and the communication skills to share what they know about medications with the women in their care.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how that training now translates into practice for our graduates. I have no doubt that prescribing in the hands of midwives in private practice will enhance safety for women and their children.”

(Source: Griffith University)

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Date Created: March 26, 2014 Date Modified: April 5, 2014