MDWF12007 - Professional Midwifery Practice: Legal and Ethical Frameworks

General Information

Unit Synopsis

In this unit, you will explore the role and scope of the midwife and the legal and ethical parameters framing midwifery practice. You will explore the philosophical and historical contexts underpinning the midwifery profession including the discourses that influence women's decision making in relation to their care. Legal and ethical parameters framing midwifery practice and their importance to professional accountability will be critically examined; specifically the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), the Midwife Standards for Practice and Code of Conduct for Midwives, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) International Code of Ethics for Midwives and other relevant Australian legislation. You will also be introduced to the Australian maternity services, models of midwifery care available, and the provision of inclusive culturally safe practice.


Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 2
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 1
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites Co-requisite:  MDWF12003 Midwifery Practice 1

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 2 - 2023

Term 1 - 2024 Profile

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Group Discussion 30%
2. Critical Review 30%
3. Portfolio 40%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 1 - 2022 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 81.25% (`Agree` and `Strongly Agree` responses), based on a 47.06% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: SUTE Unit Comments
I found the course a bit overwhelming to start with and did not put the effort into it that it required. Following the first assessment, I realised I needed to review my learning requirements and started to spend more time reading and reviewing the course work. Tanya has been amazing in offering feedback and making herself available by phone and email and responds to enquires in a timely manner. This course has made me review my own nursing practice and the importance of ensuring my colleagues practice within the nursing standards. Thanks for the reminder Tanya.
To continue offering timely, detailed, and constructive feedback on assessment tasks. I will continue to make myself available by phone and email and respond to inquiries promptly.
Action Taken
Source: SUTE Unit Comments
I was hoping for future groups, the discussion boards could become more interactive somehow, maybe not having the same topic to comment on. Potentially rotating between who writes a topic piece and then students can comment or feedback? Just an idea.
To consider when the term 1 2023 assessment tasks are designed, offering the students the opportunity to identify the relevant blog topic discussions.
Action Taken
Source: SUTE Unit Comments
The videos to assist with each assignment were so helpful and made it easy to understand. Thank you.
To continue offering the live Q & A Zoom sessions and recorded Zoom sessions on the assessment tasks.
Action Taken
Source: SUTE Unit Comments
I found the unit very weighty with essays and blogs. Perhaps one less assignment and an exam in its place.
To consider the structure of the assessment tasks and their due dates to relieve the academic load at the busiest times of the term.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Apply the historical, philosophical, legal, and ethical concepts applicable to midwifery practice and their relationship to the professional scope of the registered midwife
  2. Analyse professional accountability in relation to the responsibilities and obligations of the midwife
  3. Explore the different models of maternity care and the professional discourses that influence women's decision making in relation to their care
  4. Integrate effective, culturally safe, and inclusive ethical decision making within the midwifery profession.

Content in this unit incorporates a number of professional requirements including the following:

The draft ANMAC Midwifery Education Standards (2020).

Standard 1 Safety of the public.

Standard 3 Program of study.

Standard 5: Student assessment.

The National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (2017).

Clinical governance.

Partnering with consumers.

Preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infection.

Medication safety.

Comprehensive care.

Communicating for safety.

The NMBA Midwife Standards for Practice (2018).

Standard 1: Promotes evidence-based maternal health and wellbeing.

Standard 2: Engages in respectful partnerships and professional relationships.

Standard 3: Demonstrates the capability and accountability for midwifery practice.

Standard 5: Develops plans for midwifery practice.

Standard 6: Provides safe and quality midwifery practice.

The NMBA Code of Conduct for Midwives (2018).

Principle 1: Legal Compliance

Principle 2: Woman-centred practice.

Principle 3: Cultural practice and respectful relationships.

Principle 4: Professional behaviour.

Principle 7: Health and wellbeing.

The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Code of Ethics for Midwives (2014).

Midwifery relationships.

Practice of midwifery.

Professional responsibilities of midwives.

Advancement of midwifery knowledge and practice.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1 - Group Discussion
2 - Critical Review
3 - Portfolio
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
5 - Team Work
6 - Information Technology Competence
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
8 - Ethical practice
9 - Social Innovation
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 - Group Discussion
2 - Critical Review
3 - Portfolio