Growing our own: A survey of midwifery stakeholders ‘experiences of an online midwifery entry to practice program

Elizabeth Rigg, Debra Clay1, Francine Douce

1University of Southern Queensland, Australia, 2Launceston General Hospital, Launceston, Australia


Literature highlights that midwifery is experiencing global workforce shortages. This is expected to worsen in Australia as its maternity workforce ages. In Tasmania 70% of the midwifery workforce are over 45 years of age. The education of midwives remains a key strategy to sustainability of a maternity workforce who are inspired for the future. In November 2016, the suspension of locally based midwifery offerings resulted in the Department of Health Tasmania, entering a service agreement with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) to provide an online Bachelor of Midwifery (Graduate Entry) program supported by local clinical placements.

Explore the effectiveness and sustainability of an online Bachelor of Midwifery (Graduate Entry) program for Tasmania from the perspective of stakeholders.

This was a mixture methods study. Data was collected via an online survey and in-depth interviews. The Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) was used to analyse survey data. Open ended questions and interviews were analysed using a combination of content and thematic analysis.

The findings of an online survey undertaken by maternity service providers at five separate sites in Tasmania will be presented to answer the research question: What is the experience, satisfaction and perception of Tasmanian service providers of the USQ online Bachelor of Midwifery (GE) program?


Mrs Elizabeth Rigg RN, RM, BLMPrimary, MaMid PhD Student

Elizabeth is the Director of Midwifery at the University of Southern Queensland.  She has published several peer reviewed journal articles, including a book chapter in “Birthing outside the System: The Canary in the Coal Mine”. Her thesis is titled: “The role, practice and training of unregulated birth workers in Australia.